Saturday, September 21, 2019

Body Language Analysis No. 4397: Donald Trump Defends Himself Against The Whistleblower - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

President Trump met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday 20 September 2019. After their meeting, the two men took questions from the Press in the Oval Office. What follows is a partial nonverbal, verbal, and paralanguage analysis of a particularly important portion of that exchange. 

In response to a journalist saying, "We want to address this whistleblower story, Sir", the President displays what is known as a Tight Tongue Jut (5:11). A tight tongue jut is a signal for the thought-emotions of:

• Disgust
• Distaste
• Despising
• Refuting

— for what was just heard or seen.

Mr. Trump then immediately leans his torso away from/pulls away from the journalist to whom he's speaking (5:26) -  just after he says, "I've had conversations with many leaders, 're [sic] always appropriate."

This dynamic strongly suggests the President does not believe — and thus has low confidence in his own statement. Please view this portion of the video, as this still image does not capture his motion.

Crucially, there's also a simultaneous mild expression of fear on the President's face.

Trump then immediately says, "I think Scott can tell you that". Notice his somewhat subtle but highly significant, Suppressed Smile (5:27).

Why is the President smiling in this moment - during a question and answer regarding such a serious subject? A smile, when it's out of context, is always telling.

His partially suppressed smile is related to what Trump also said — Cracking a sarcastic, 'joke' (in a passive-aggressive manner) is a manipulative technique often used to escape/jump-start a person out of an emotionally uncomfortable situation/subject. Now watch this portion of the video again at 0.5 or even 0.25 speed. It's profoundly important to notice, that Trump never looks Prime Minister Morrison in the eye.

An additional component of this smiling out-of-context behavior is associated with a phenomenon known as Duping Delight. Duping delight is a smile which occurs when a person derives true, sincere pleasure from their belief that they've fooled you or gotten away with something. Thus, the real reason for Trump's smile/laughter is camouflaged - if he cracks a 'joke' (or pretends to), he's allowed to smile and/or laugh. But really he's taking pleasure in his belief that he's fooling us.

From a Statement Analysis perspective, Trump's multiple uses of the word, "appropriate" is also highly suspect (three times within five seconds, 5:25 - 5:30). "Appropriate" is a word which people often use to lend credibility to their opinion. It's a phenomenon of rationalization behavior — a word which pretends to be objective, but it really screams with subjectivity and confirmation bias.

As he says the word, "political" (5:38, "It's just another political hack-job"), the President also displays and interesting expression - an amalgam of both Contempt (note how his mouth is asymmetrical, elevated on his right) and Fear (seen in his forehead and eyes).

When a journalist asked, "At some point did you discuss Joe Biden, his son, or his family?" the President responded, "Ah, it doesn't matter what I discuss, but I will say this,  ...". As he says, both "discuss" and "say this", Mr. Trump displayed a Lip Curl (5:46 and 5:47)

A lip curl signals the thought-emotions of:

• Bravado
• Hubris
• Braggadocio

A common paralanguage tell often accompanying a lip curl is a slight lisp - in the context of a person who doesn't typically have a lisp. Trump does tend to have this characteristic slight lisp simultaneous with his lip curls.

Just after he says, "... annnd, I always look for the — ah, conversation that's going to help the United States the most, that's very important", Trump exhibits another Tight Tongue Jut (additional disdain, disgust, distaste, and/or repulsion), (6:28).

Take care not to confuse a Tight Tongue Jut with a Loose Tongue Jut or a Wide Open Tongue — for all three behaviors have completely different meanings. 

When asked (beginning at 6:26), "Do you know the identity of the whistleblower? Do you know the identity?"

The President responded, "I don't know the identity of the whistleblower, I just hear it's a partisan person — meaning it comes out from another party. But I don't have, ah, any idea. But I can say it's a totally appropriate conversation. It was actually a beautiful conversation — "

Donald Trump looked down to his right at many times during this segment of this video. One such episode occurred as he said, "have, ah" ("But I don't have, ah, any idea."), (6:37).

He looks down to his right once again (6:42) as he says, "It was" ("It was actually a beautiful conversation — ").

And once again after he says, "and all of those ridiculous charges and all of thee [sic] mistakes made at 'The New York Times' and other places ..." (6:55).

The lower right is the quadrant to which we often look when we're feeling Sadness, Shame, Guilt (both Guilt-Remorse and also Guilt-Culpability) — and Deception.

Why did Mr. Trump feel the need to define 'partisan'? This over-explaining behavior is a common verbal/paralanguage phenomenon accompanying deception. The lying psyche often rationalizes out loud.

Note also the detail of Trump's using the pronunciation 'thee', rather than 'the' (often followed by a pause). This stretching of the word is a common paralanguage tell often performed in the act of deceiving. It gives the speaker a split second (or longer) to formulate their lie.

A couple seconds after he says, "... and keep asking questions, and build it up as big as possible, so you can have a bigger downfall" — the President displays an amalgam of anger, regret, and anxiety (7:29).  Taken in isolation, in these couple seconds, it's difficult to differentiate between the feelings of:

• Regret arising from being caught
• Regret an unethical act

However, when taken in toto — in the context of the entire video, his feelings become clear. The President regrets being caught.

The President is projecting here — he feels the "built it up" and the "bigger downfall" apply to him. This Freudian slip is foretelling and particularly frightening.

Now go back — a second earlier (7:28), just after he said, "downfall". You'll see that the President, yet again, looked down to his right.

Another significant tell is Mr. Trump's claim, "I don't even know exactly who you're talking about" — and yet he also says, "But I can say it's a totally appropriate conversation. It was actually a beautiful conversation ..." — betraying that he knows the specific the conversation and alleged act which is being referenced.

SUMMARY: Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has significant disdain, disgust, and repulsion toward the Whistleblower. The President's body language — as well as his verbal and paralanguage behavior, indicate he's lying during the portion of the video analyzed above. He knows the Whistleblower's identity.

Crucially, the President exhibits cognitive-emotional dissonance, for while he displays braggadocio and hubris — he also shows significant fear and anxiety. Mr. Trump also regrets being caught.

The President's Freudian Slip — when he says, "... and keep asking questions, and build it up as big as possible, so you can have a bigger downfall"— is projection. He feels this advice applies to himself. It shows us he's a man sensing his own fall — and that he's desperate.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4396: Brett Kavanaugh's Confirmation Hearing — Reading Between the Lines — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence

Body Language Analysis No. 4395: Mike Pompeo - "Just the Past Ten Days Alone, We've Killed Over a Thousand Taliban"

Body Language Analysis No. 4394: Donald Trump, "I am The Chosen One"

Body Language Analysis No. 4392: The Secret Tells behind Donald Trump's Statement, "No Puppet. No Puppet. You're the Puppet"

Body Language Analysis No. 4393: El Paso Mass Shooter - Using Body Language as a Threat Assessment Tool

Body Language Analysis No. 4379: Katie Bouman, Black Holes, and Emotional Processing

Body Language Analysis No. 4380: Tiger Woods Wins his first Masters in 14 years

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