Monday, January 14, 2019

Body Language Analysis No. 4371: "Mr. President ... have you ever worked for Russia? Yes or no?" - Donald Trump's Reaction - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On Monday 14 January 2019, President Trump addressed a press gaggle on the South Lawn of the White House prior to his travel to New Orleans. What follows is a partial nonverbal, verbal, and paralanguage analysis of a crucial portion of this event.

KRISTEN WELKER (beginning at 3:15): Mr. President, yes or no, have you or are you now, have you ever worked for Russia? Yes or no?

DONALD TRUMP: I never worked for Russia. And you know that answer better than anybody. I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it's a disgrace that you even asked that question - because it's a whole big fat hoax. It's just a hoax. 

During 3:20, just as he says, "I" ("I never worked for Russia"), he closes both of his eyes. When people are denying an accusation - and they close their eyes while saying the pivotal word "I", it's highly correlative with deception. It's an attempt by the subconscious to distance itself from the lie.

Of profound importance is Trump's vocal emphasis as he says the word, "work" (during 3:26, "Not only did I never WORK for Russia"). Listen to him speak. An innocent person would have put the emphasis on the word, "Not" as well as "never". And also, importantly, an innocent person would have first answered, "No" - after all, the question was, "Mr. President, yes or no, have you or are you now, have you ever worked for Russia? Yes or no?"

Trump's emphasis on the word "work" is an example of his rationalization - e.g., Trump is trying to rationalize that he was/is not working for Russia - but doing something else - perhaps partnering with or conducting business.

Trump also may very well believe that he was not at all working with Russia - but with one man only - Vladimir Putin. Thus, he can deny the accusation.

Moreover, another crucial statement analysis tell is the word "for" ("I never worked for Russia" [twice], and "Not only did I never work for Russia"). In his rationalizing mind, Trump is saying, "I worked with Russia (Putin), but not for Russia (Putin) - I don't work for anyone except myself".

When, in the act of refuting a lie, if the accused gestures with a Finger-Point-Hand-Chop - it's a nonverbal signal which is highly correlative with guilt. This body language is exactly what President Trump displayed when responding to Kristen Welker's question.

There's even further nuance embedded in Trump's gesturing. Note how his elbow, shoulder, and wrist all remain bent. During his finger-point-hand-chop at Ms. Welker, none of the joints achieve anywhere near full extension. If Trump had believed his own words, he would have straightened his arm much further in this moment. Instead, the President, lacking confidence in his retort, keeps his arm close to his torso. The President often exhibits such camouflaged acquiescing behavior.

(Did you notice his eyes were again closed at this key moment?)

Another telling nonverbal display (seen during 3:34) is what is known as a Lip Curl as Trump says, "hoax" ("It's just a hoax").  Note how his lips are flaring and curled outward in this instant (captured in the image above).

A lip curl is a signal of:

• Braggadocio
• False Bravado
• Over-extended Hubris

He then Thrusts his Jaw outward, tilts his head-neck back, while rotating his head away from Ms. Welker, to his left and then back again to his right while staring into the middle-distance (3:35).

Like any person who is guilty, but attempting to look strong and in-control, Trump is oscillating back-and-forth between alpha and beta emotions.

Jaw-Thrusting-Head-Tilting is a sign of an adrenaline surge and indicates the thought-emotion of defiance. Intriguingly, this dynamic is extremely common in mug shots (e.g., "I'm going to beat the rap").

Trump then looks back to Ms. Welker as he displays a Loose Tongue Jut (3:37). This microexpression/near-microexpression tongue movement signals Trump's thought-emotions of:

• I've been caught
• I've been bad
• I've done a stupid thing

A split-second later (also during 3:37), Trump's chin again extends outward, but this time his head does not tilt back. This is also associated with an adrenaline surge, however, this indicates Anger (Did you notice the increased tension in his lower eyelids?).

Mr. Trump then displays strong Contempt toward Ms. Welker as his right mid-face contracts dramatically - while his jaw is still jutting forward (still during 3:37).

Another key feature of this entire exchange, is that President Trump never turns fully toward (he never Body Points) to Kristen Welker. While his head and eyes are turned toward the journalist - his shoulders and torso do not (and by inference - neither do his hips or feet). This is another sign of his beta behavior - and that the President does NOT have the confidence to fully confront this question/his accuser.

Moreover, two days earlier, during a phone interview on Fox News - when Jeanine Pirro asked Donald Trump, "Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?", the President never answered the question. His failure to directly deny such accusations - even on a network that is extremely Trump-friendly, is particularly telling.

SUMMARY: Donald Trump's nonverbal, verbal, and paralanguage behavior displayed during this key moment earlier this week, all indicate that the President is lying - and that he did indeed "work for Russia" (Putin).

President Trump routinely retreats into beta mode while wearing an alpha facade. He's an ostrich pretending to be a T-Rex.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4370: Donald Trump, Fist-Pumping, and Vladimir Putin at 2017 G20

Body Language Analysis No. 4369: Donald Trump's Border Wall Oval Office Address

Body Language Analysis No. 4368: Donald's and Melania's Kiss in Iraq

Body Language Analysis No. 4364: Vladimir Putin's and Mohammed bin Salman's High Five at the 2018 G20

Body Language Analysis No. 4362: Mohammed bin Salman regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Body Language Analysis No. 4360: GE's CEO Larry Culp's CNBC Interview and Subsequent Stock Sell-off

Body Language Analysis No. 4358: Donald Trump, Pseudo-Christianity, and the Not-So-Subliminal Cross

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

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