Friday, November 9, 2018

Body Language Analysis No. 4357: Donald Trump's response, "What a stupid question" - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

As he departed for his trip to France on Friday 9 November 2018, Donald Trump answered questions on the South Lawn of White House. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of President Trump during a portion of this press gaggle.

ABBY PHILLIP: Do you expect Matt Whitaker to be involved in the Russia Probe? Do you want to -

DONALD TRUMP: (over-talking) It's up to him.

ABBY PHILLIP: Do you want him to rein-in Robert Mueller?

DONALD TRUMP: What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions.

During 20:37, just after Abby Phillip asks, "Do you want him to rein-in Robert Mueller?", Trump closes his eyes, tilts his head to his right, and clearly displays Contempt. This contempt expression is centered on his left mouth corner, the tightening of the area above his upper lip and below his nose (aka the 'mustache region') along with the (mild) flaring of his left nostril.

His closed eyelids - as well as the tilting of his head, while not required for a contempt display, here both act as contempt amplifiers.

Two seconds later, during 20:39, Trump displays what is known as a Lip Curl (his upper lip flaring out slightly) as he says the word, "is". A lip curl signals hubris, braggadocio, and/or bravado. Listen carefully, for Trump tends to have a slight lisp when displaying the lip curl signal (a nonverbal tell he often exemplifies). 

Trump responds with a "Finger-point-hand-chop (during 20:43) as he says, "You ask a lot of  ...". When verbally responding to a question in this manner, it's a subconscious affirmation that what was asked (in this case, "Do you want him to rein-in Robert Mueller?") is in fact true. Ergo, Trump does indeed want the new acting Attorney General to control Muller's investigation.

Trump's desire to do so, is, of course, obvious to even casual observers, but this is a fantastic example of a such a nonverbal display. Here's the Rub though: to note times when someone who you like, believe, and trust - exhibits identical nonverbal behavior (e.g., in everyday scenarios). If we fall victim to our subjective tendencies (our confirmation bias) of people we care for - would we then be able to spot the lie? The insincerity? The manipulation? The vast majority of times, the answer is clearly, "No". Therefore, using nonverbal tells is an objectivity tool - a way of checking our own opinions when, as human beings, we are inherently biased.

Another Contempt display (20:46),  is signified on Trump's left mouth corner and mustache region. There is also a secondary element of Disgust conveyed in this moment.

Trump then displays a Loose Tongue Jut (20:47). This signifies the thought-emotion of "I've been bad", "I've been caught", "I've just done/said a stupid thing". This is seen when the psyche is scolding itself for making an unforced error.

From a statement analysis and behavioral analysis perspective, whenever a person responds to a question by calling it, "Stupid", with extremely high likelihood, it's a clear signal they feel that they've been sussed. They're trapped. If his intentions were honest, Trump should have simply answered, "No". Moreover, this response also indicates a lack of impulse control.

SUMMARY: Donald Trump's nonverbal behavior indicates he has both contempt and disgust for journalist Abby Phillip. Moreover, Trump knows he's made a mistake in naming Matt Whitaker as the Acting Attorney General - and yet he does fully intend to use him to "rein-in" Robert Mueller's investigation.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4356: Donald Trump: "When I can, I tell the truth"

Body Language Analysis No. 4354: Mass Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue

Body Language Analysis No. 4352: Donald Trump, Mohammed bin Salman, and Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Body Language Analysis No. 4350: Ashley Kavanaugh during Brett Kavanaugh's Swearing-in Ceremonies for the Supreme Court

Body Language Analysis No. 4348: Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings - Part II

Body Language Analysis No. 4321: Donald Trump and The Queen

Body Language Analysis No. 4317: Scott Pruitt Confronted in Restaurant by Kristin Mink

Body Language Analysis No. 4316: Sarah Paulson, The Met Gala, and Madonna

Body Language Analysis No. 4302: G7 Leaders Surrounding Donald Trump