Saturday, October 21, 2017

Body Language Analysis No. 4098: President Trump and Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló - A Candid Moment in the Oval Office - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On Thursday President Trump met with Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico in the Oval Office. From a body language perspective, two of their handshakes were particularly noteworthy.

During 1:32 in the above video, President Trump initiates a handshake. He does so with a palm-up configuration (as is typical for the President) - and in so doing, subordinates himself

Moreover, Trump's position on the right hand side of the "stage" (Oval Office) allows Governor Rossello to then have the more alpha position. Rossello's hand, from our view, covers Trump's hand. The Governor amplifies his alpha status further by grabbing the President's elbow with his left hand.

Very few people try this "elbow grab" with Donald Trump. This evokes anger in the President and he pulls his hand away after, what for him, was an abnormally brief handshake. Note the evanescent features of anger on President Trump - especially his clenched jaw and his mid facial tension.

Watch this portion of the video at regular speed and again at 1/2 and 1/4 speed as the still image does not capture its dynamic nature.


The President then displays Disgust as well as a Forward Lip Purse. A forward lip purse indicates feelings of secret disagreement and/or clandestine plan(s).

Later in the same meeting, at 6:17, President Trump initiates another handshake and this time Governor Rossello clasps the underside/backside of Trump's hand in a classic "Double-Hander".

The Governor then further up-regulates his alpha tone of this handshake by moving is left hand on top of the President's - while both men then transition to a "Bitter Smile" facial expression. Each leader also has a component of frustration (although President Trump's frustration is greater in this moment).

Summary: Although Ricardo Rossello is subordinate to Donald Trump, the Governor's body language during these moments were significantly more alpha than the President's. While both men are partially suppressing their frustration, President Trump is also trying to conceal his anger.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4097: Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, and a Tennis Tongue Tell

Body Language Analysis No. 4095: Celtics' Gordon Hayward Breaks His Leg in Dramatic Fashion During Game with Cavaliers

Body Language Analysis No. 4093: Fear and Harvey Weinstein - Emma Watson's Reaction

Body Language Analysis No. 4091: John Kelly's Press Briefing, "I'm not quitting"/"I'm not getting fired"

Body Language Analysis No. 4073: Prince Harry and Melania Trump Meet in Canada for Invictus Games - Harry's Hand Signal

Body Language Analysis No. 4056: Ed Sheeran and a Hesitancy to Disclose

Body Language Analysis No. 4033: Prime Minister Theresa May Regarding Charlottesville Violence, "I see no equivalence"

Body Language Analysis No. 3975: Travis Kalanick and Sheryl Sandberg - and Uber's Need for Empathy, Sincerity, and Emotional Intelligence

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3809: Horse Lays His Head On Coffin As He Mourns The Loss Of His Human Best Friend - Cross-Species Body Language & Emotional Intelligence