Earlier today, during a joint press conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Trump was asked about the recent deadly gas attack in Syria.
What follows is a portion of his response followed by a partial nonverbal analysis.
JULIA IOFFE [This question was edited out of this specific clip of the press conference, however, it is the one to which President Trump is responding]: You've condemned the chemical attacks in Syria, but you also appeared in your statement yesterday to pin some of the blame on the Obama administration. You are the president now. Do you feel like you bear responsibility for responding to the chemical attacks and does the chemical attack cross a red line for you?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I think the Obama administration had a great opportunity to solve this crisis a long time ago when he said, "The red line in the sand". And when he didn't cross that line after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways - not only in Syria, but in many of the parts of the world - because it was a blank threat. I think it was something that was not - one of our better days as a country. So I do feel that, Julia, I feel it very strongly.
IOFFE: Do feel like you now have the responsibility to respond to the chemical attack?
TRUMP [over-talking]: I now have responsibility and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly - I will tell you that. It is now my responsibility. It was a great opportunity missed.
[CNN's video edit gap]
IOFFE: Before I move on to the King, can I just quickly ask you if the chemical attack "crosses a red line" for you?
TRUMP: Ah, it crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill - innocent children - innocent babies, babies, little babies - with a chemical gas that is so lethal - ah - people were shocked to hear what gas it was [Lip Smacking, Head Torquing, Disgust Display, Eyelids Partially Closing, Mid-Facial Tension], that crosses many, many lines - beyond a red line. Many, many lines.
During 0:38 - 0:39, as he says, "... I now have responsibility and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly - I will tell you that. It is now my responsibility ...", Donald Trump spreads his arms quite widely, in a palms-up fashion.
This nonverbal signal indicates that the President is very accepting of and welcomes the responsibility to, "... respond to the chemical attack".
Just prior to the President saying, "... that crosses many, many lines - beyond a red line. Many, many lines" (during 1:06), he displays a nonverbal cluster containing the key signals of:
- Lip Smacking
- Head Torquing
- Eyelids Partially Closing
- Mid-Facial Tension
- Disgust Display
Summary: Donald Trump's body language during the press conference earlier today, indicates with very high probability, the President intends to order a heavy military retaliation in response to the Poison Gas Attack of Bashar al-Assad upon the Syrian People.
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