Yesterday, President Trump offered up a message to his friend, Robert Kraft - New England Patriots owner. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of this brief interview - and how Trump feels the NFL is responding to his idea that any players who don't stand for the National Anthem should be fired.
PRESIDENT TRUMP [beginning at 0:00]: I watched a little bit and I will say that there was tremendous solidarity for our flag and for our country.
JOURNALIST: Mr. President, your friend, Robert Kraft, said he was, "disappointed by what you said on Friday [inaudible]"
PRESIDENT TRUMP [over-talking]: Well that's okay. Look, he's gotta take his - he ah, he has to take his ideas and go with what he wants. I think it's very disrespectful to our country. I think it's very, very disrespectful to our flag. I like Bob very much - he's my friend. But - he gave me a Superbowl ring ago, right? So he's a f-, good friend of mine. But - ah, and I want him to do what he wants to do, but - ...
During 0:18 - 0:19, President Trump moves his right middle finger from just above his right eye - posteriorly along his temple region as he says, "... to our country. I think ...". This is a classic example of what is known as a "Partial Emblematic Slip" - of which there are many varieties. To be blunt, Donald Trump - subconsciously - told Robert Kraft to "Fuck Off".
The "Partial" nomenclature is used here because the illustrator is not displayed in it's full-fledged, upright, held-high, in-front of one's body manner. Rather it's a horizontal, off to the side, and atypical display.
The term "Emblematic" is applied here due to the "Middle Finger" gesture (illustrator) is a meaning which is well-defined and near-universally recognized. In the nonverbal world, such symbols are known as "Emblems".
The "Slip" description tells us the subconscious nature with which this action is initiated. Occasionally, its user becomes conscious of this dynamic (or has an edge-of-consciousness awareness of it) once it's completed/nearly complete.
Now go back a few seconds and notice that during 0:13 - 0:14, upon hearing a question about Robert Kraft, President Trump then steps backward. This is a fantastic example of the nonverbal display of being "taken aback" - which signals the phenomenon of emotional processing. Notice also during this moment, the President stutters and takes longer to respond as he says, "... Look, he's gotta take his - he ah, he has to take his ideas ...". This is a strong indicator that he has strong feelings with regards to his relationship with Robert Kraft. Donald Trump's middle finger display 4-5 seconds later shows us his true feelings for the New England Patriots owner.
It's also important to note that Donald Trump rarely touches his face/neck/head while speaking - particularly on camera (much less so than most politicians or professional actors). Thus when he does occasionally commits such a faux pas - we can be sure his action is driven by strong emotions (which over-ride his normal suppression for facial touching).
Summary: Donald Trump flipped-off Patriots owner Robert Kraft yesterday. This subconsciously initiated nonverbal action was most likely driven by his feelings of being betrayed by Kraft. Along with 30 of the 32 NFL owners, Kraft openly and publicly addressed his disappointment in the President's recent comments.
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