Melania Trump tried holding hands with her husband on Friday when she walked with him on the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport, but he refused it twice. Whether it was misinterpreted or deliberate move, it prompted a body language expert to weigh in on the scene.
The couple’s 10-year-old son was caught refusing to hold his mother’s hand during the inaugural parade when the whole family walked the route to wave at well wishers. It appears Melania Trump was rejected again when she met her husband in Florida where they were going to spend the weekend at their Mar-a-Lago estate. It was the first time Melania had been seen in public since the inauguration two weeks ago.
The Daily Mail reported that Patti Wood, a body language expert who’s written extensively on the subject, studied the interaction between President Trump and the first lady as they walked on the tarmac. Melania was there to kiss her husband as he disembarked from Air Force One before making their way to Mar-a-Lago.
Trump ‘won’t hold hands with Melania in public because he wants to look like a presidential alpha’ https://t.co/BxiFYhh3mg
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) February 5, 2017
At first Melania reaches for her husband’s hand and he holds it for a few seconds before releasing it. She tried once more only to have him tap it twice before dropping it to clap along with the cheering crowd.
Why was Melania Trump’s hand so abruptly refused by the president? Wood believes it has to do with the newly minted commander-in-chief wanting to appear as an “alpha” president.
“Typically a hand-hold shows a couple as a unit. But to me, I think he’s been saying, ‘I want to be seen as the president on my own,’ which is very much alpha. ‘I want to be just the powerful me.’ And it’s clear that that’s his choice.”
Wood delved into the analysis further, noting that holding hands tells a lot about an individual or a couple when it comes to the position of the hands. There is much to be learned from who “reaches first” and “who breaks first,” the body language expert shares. She adds that it’s amazing Melania Trump and her husband hold hands in public at all.
“What’s fascinating, I think to all of us, is that they’re holding hands at all. They hold hands in private, so we know that there’s a coupleness that we weren’t seeing in public or at the inauguration.”
Wood is convinced that President Trump was trying to send a clear message that he didn’t want to come off soft as the nation’s new leader — even with his wife. He walked slightly ahead of his wife after the second time she tried to hold hands.
“Even though we’ve been hearing that Melania wants to be like Jackie O – she initiated this hand-hold. He clapped his hands to get out of it, which was very odd because basically he’s clapping away from her.
“And then the second time she goes into a supplicant hand-hold in which she cups her hand up, showing, ‘I’m supplicant, I will take the bottom position but I want to hold hands.” She goes into it and he goes out of that.”
The body language expert continued on to say that Trump might have expressed more warmth with Melania had he “cupped” his hand, had done it with “sweetness,” or “kissed” her before releasing her hand. Wood says the president’s gesture was a “clear way of saying no” to his wife’s hand-holding. The analyst observed that the manner in which Trump denied holding Melania’s hand was “admonishing” and had a “power” to it. He wasn’t mad when he turned down Melania’s hand, but wanted to be in full control.
“He doesn’t want to give comfort or be seen as a unit in public. Since running for president, that’s an interesting choice. It changes your couple dynamics pretty dramatically if you had that before and now you don’t.”
A separate report featured a photo of Melania Trump holding hands with her husband during a gala fundraiser for the Red Cross on Saturday night.
— FashionUsaMagazine (@fashionusamagaz) February 5, 2017
The president was clearly comfortable showing affection towards his wife at the event, as seen in the tweet above.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]