Last night Chief of Staff John Kelly was a guest on Fox News. A portion of that interview is included in the MSNBC video above (Fox has not yet posted a YouTube source). Some of the White House Chief of Staff's comments regarding Robert E. Lee and the American Civil War have drawn considerable criticism. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of this section of the interview.
JOHN KELLY (beginning at 0:55): Ah, I will tell ya that, that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. [Deep inhalation] Ahhh, H, He was a man that ah, gave up, ah, gave up his - country to fight for his state which in, a hundred 'n' fifty years ago was more important that country - it was always loyalty to state first back in those days. [∑, Deep inhalation] Ah, now where it's different - today [Deep inhalation]. Ahhhh, but that, that, thee, the lack of an ability to compromise Ω ah, led to the Civil War. And, ahum, men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscious, ahum, had them make their stand...
Getting historical facts accurate is of the utmost importance (lest we rationalize what we want to be true) - but in the context of this article we're analyzing Nonverbal behavior (not history) - thus there's a profound distinction to be made: True history versus what John Kelly believes to be the true history.
Just after John Kelly says, "... it was always loyalty to state first back in those days ...", he inhales deeply and shrugs both shoulders (during 1:11 and notated by ∑ in the above transcript). In this context, his Shoulder Shrug indicates the thought-emotions of: "What could I do?", "What difference does it make?"
Please watch the video as the still image does not capture the dynamic and subtle nature of this nonverbal display.
A few seconds later (during 1:18 and notated above by Ω ) just after he says, "... Ahhhh, but that, that, thee, the lack of an ability to compromise" and just before he said, " ... ah, led to the Civil War", John Kelly displays a "Loose Tongue Jut" (not to be confused with a "Tight Tongue Jut" which has a completely different meaning). A loose tongue jut indicates the thought-emotions of: "I've just been bad", "I'm about to be bad", or "I just got/about to be caught" (Navarro). It's a body language manifestation of one's psyche scolding its owner for their own bad behavior.
Summary: John Kelly does, in fact, truly believe that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man - he's not political posturing here. However, a moment later, Chief of Staff Kelly was indeed lying when he said, "the lack of an ability to compromise, ah, led to the Civil War". He does not believe this.
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