On Friday, Donald Trump placed a phone call to space, speaking to NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, to congratulate them on successfully carrying out the first female spacewalk. But when Meir offered a gentle correction to an incorrect statement by Trump, he reacted with what one body language expert called “passive aggressive behavior,” according to a report by Daily Mail.
As a video that quickly went viral — and can be seen below — shows, Trump appears to give Meir “the finger,” at least in an indirect way, raising his middle finger and using it to rub his forehead and adjust his hair.
The gesture came after Trump said on the call that the two astronauts were “conducting the first ever female spacewalk to replace an exterior part of the space station.”
In fact, as The Inquisitr has noted, 13 different women astronauts have conducted 40 spacewalks over the past 35 years. The first woman to walk in space was Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984. Later that same year, NASA’s Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space.
But the spacewalk by Koch and Meir last week was the first conducted by a team of at least two astronauts comprised solely of women.
“We don’t want to take too much credit because there have been many other female spacewalkers before,” Meir said after Trump made his mistaken reference to “the first ever female spacewalk.”
Trump’s immediate reaction can be seen in the video below.
The gesture was noticed by thousands of Twitter users, including Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, who reacted with shocked disbelief.
“How is this even real life?” she tweeted.
Watts’ tweet, posted late on Sunday night, has received more than 104,000 “likes” and 35,500 retweets as of Tuesday morning.
The national Jewish newspaper The Forward pointed out that Meir, the astronaut to whom Trump appeared to direct the disrespectful gesture, was not only a woman but Jewish as well.
Body language expert Patti Wood told Daily Mail that based on her expertise, she had no doubt that Trump made the profane gesture deliberately.
“I knew immediately it was done purposely,” Wood said, explaining that the timing of Trump’s “middle finger” gesture “is everything,” coming immediately after the female astronaut corrects him. Wood stated that Trump’s facial expression before he raises the finger already indicated that he was “upset” at the fact check.
“Then he puts the middle finger out and puts it in the center of his forehead. This is significant as it calls attention to the action,” Wood continued, adding that the slow, deliberate way with which Trump then uses the finger to rub up and down, and seemingly “fix” his hair without actually moving any hair around, “shows it to be strategic, passive aggressive behavior.”