Earlier today, US Vice President, Mike Pence gave a very strong statement in support of NATO while visiting its headquarters in Brussels. As many have noted, this stance is very different compared with Donald Trump's calling NATO "Obsolete". Moreover when asked if NATO should be "gotten rid of?", Trump responded, "It’s possible. It’s possible. I would certainly look at it..."
What follows is a portion of the transcript from Vice President Pence's press conference at NATO Headquarters (corresponding to the first 44 seconds of the above video) as well as a nonverbal analysis.
Journalist: I wanted to you about the dismissal of General Flynn, ah, recently, um, did you feel like you were misled, or, by members of the Trump administration - or were you frustrated that you were left out of the loop on this situation? And What assurances have you received from President Trump that something like this will not happen again?
Mike Pence: Let me say, I'm, I am very grateful - for the close working relationship I have with - the President of the United States and [deep inhale] um, [more inhale] and um [inhale] and it, it, I - I, I would tell that - I, I was disappointed to learn [deep inhalation, head turn+tilt] that this, the, um, [deep inhalation] the facts that have been conveyed to me by General Flynn, ah, were inaccurate, um ...
End of (Partial) Transcript, Nonverbal Analysis begins below:
Each description corresponds to the image immediately above it
"Let me say, I'm, I am very grateful - for the close working relationship I have with - the President of the United States."
Just after he says, "... I'm ...," the VP begins to smile. It's not a full smile - it's suppressed. It's asymmetrical (a phenomenon very common with suppressed smiles) - and biased to his right. Importantly, it's also an insincere smile.
Let me say, I'm, I am very grateful - for the close working relationship I have with - the President of the United States.
This image was captured during the first syllable of "... grateful ..." Note that as Mr. Pence says this word he turns (rotates) his head away from the journalist asking the question - while maintaining eye contact. And he's still suppressing his insincere smile.
Turing our head away from the person with whom we're speaking when we're making such an important declaration indicates high anxiety and is consistent with deception.
Let me say, I'm, I am very grateful [continued suppressed and insincere smile] for the close working relationship I have with - the President of the United States.
Smiling insincerely is something we all do - unfortunately, many of us much more compared with our frequency of smiling sincerely. Those who appear on camera often commit this nonverbal faux pas with even greater frequency - and most politicians even more so (they're always running for re-election). Yet, still a person should smile when the emotion is contextual - if it's not "normal for context" then it's a profound red flag.
The fact that the Vice President did not first answer the questions asked of him - and instead made a statement about being grateful for his close professional relationship with Donald Trump - and all the while trying to smile, but only pushing out an insincere one - is a highly suspicious cluster of verbal and nonverbal behavior.
While a classic "Duping Delight" smile is a partially suppressed, out of context smile - it is sincere. However if when we see a suppressed smile - and it's insincere, but also out of context - it shares some of the similar suspicion.
Summary: Vice President Pence's smiling out of context is feigned. Because this occurred when he was answering a question regarding a very important matter - the controversy regarding the circumstances which led to the firing of General Flynn - in which he played a central role - it strongly suggests a high level of insincerity with his answer-non answer. His simultaneous, frequent stuttering, multiple deep inhalations and head turning away during this same statement - are all congruent with and thus reinforcing the conclusion that Mike Pence was being deceptive.
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