Body language experts have their say on the historic meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May.
The American president played host to the first foreign leader to visit the White House on Friday. The two leaders gave the impression that they might become fast friends, but body language expert, Joe Navarro speaking to the Daily Mail, revealed that both leaders were apprehensive over the day’s agenda.
The retired FBI agent who made a career out of reading the non-verbal behavior of hardened criminals and spies said President Trump was obviously nervous judging by how frequently he spoke. He added that the facial expressions on Prime Minister May’s face showed some “psychological discomfort.”
Donald Trump and Theresa May: Body language expert reveals the TRUTH behind their meeting https://t.co/4joQzxfGOS
— Pascal Guérin (@66blaise) January 28, 2017
When BBC reporter, Laura Kuenssberg, asked a question about President Trump’s beliefs concerning the use of torture, a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country and Russia, the American president did not answer the question and instead turned to the Prime Minister and said “that’s your choice of a question? That’s it for that relationship.”
It seemed like a joke and even though President Trump addressed the issue of torture saying that his Defense Secretary, General James “Mad Dog” Mattid, did not support his views and would agree with whatever his defense secretary decided, the UK leader was far from impressed with how he reacted to the initial question.
Navarro pointed out that when the BBC reporter asked her question, the Prime Minister’s mouth twitched. According to the author of What Every Body is Saying, it was obvious that the thoughts and beliefs of the Prime Minister were different from that of her American counterpart and she felt strongly about it.
President Trump was clearly nervous judging by how frequently he spoke said body language expert Joe Navarro https://t.co/mhPNMBgs3n
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“After the reporter asks a tough question, that is not answered, notice how May’s mouth distorts. The left side of her mouth pulls forward toward the left. I haven’t seen her do that before, that is her tell that shows this is difficult for her and we know that from the distorted mouth pull. Facial distortions are caused by psychological discomfort or cognitive dissonance between of what is said and what is felt.”
After the two world leaders had exchanged preliminary greetings, President Trump took the Prime Minister to the Oval office where they posed for pictures standing side by side with a sculpture of Winston Churchill that the American president had moved into the room.
Navarro said the Prime Minister looked a bit uncomfortable which could have been because of the number of people in the room or the testy situation between both countries. The retired FBI agent who worked for the agency for 20 years also admitted there was the possibility that the UK leader found the staged photo shoot awkward.
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“Staged photographs are sometimes awkward. May’s stiffness may have more to do with where to stand then and what to do as she leans toward the sculpture.”
It was during the staged photo op that the American president punctuated the silence with conversation and comments. Navarro who has been studying non-verbal communication for 40 years, hinted that the billionaire businessman was nervous and tried to hide it with plenty of talk. “People tend to try and hide their nervousness with frequent talk and chatter,” he explained.
He added that Trump had his button down the entire day which suggested that he considered the meeting with Theresa May more important than his inauguration ceremony. According to Navarro, the American president was the perfect gentleman when he escorted Theresa May across the walkway into the Oval Office, holding her hand so that she did not skid on the slippery pavement.
"Body Language Experts: Donald Trump ‘A Bit Selfish’ As Obamas Do Their Best To Help ‘Neglected’ Melania Trump" https://t.co/bUVu4iCRkq
— A. H. Levin (@Quintil) January 23, 2017
However, the body language expert faulted the handshake between the pair saying that President Trump applied too much pressure. He said her grip was supposed to have been complemented by his grip instead of crushing her fingers as a way to assert power.
“Unfortunately, Americans are led to believe that a strong handshake is a way to assert power. Grip should match grip. It should not be a finger cruncher.”
Another body language expert, Judi James speaking to The Sun believed that the Prime Minister gave a good account of herself. According to the author of Body Language Bible, the 60-year-old leader of the Conservative Party did not allow herself to be patronized by President Trump. According to her, the UK leader smiled at the right moments but exuded confidence and authority.
Body language expert reveals Theresa May dominated in White House power battle https://t.co/38FsRkB1pA
— Judi James (@thejudijames) January 27, 2017
“It was vital that May wasn’t ‘Poodle-ized’, she looked polite but slightly distant, smiling at the right moments but displaying higher levels of experience, confidence and authority…with her feet slightly splayed in a power pose she out-alpha-ed the President who smiled sheepishly like a man eager to impress.”
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]