President Donald Tump has been accused of “giving the finger” when a female astronaut corrected him during a live media conference.
Female astronauts Jessica Meir and Christine Koch are currently at the international space station and were speaking with the US president when he congratulated them on being the “first ever female space walkers.”
When Ms Meir politely corrected Mr Trump, informing him that the first female space walk took place in 1984, and 14 others have followed since then, the president can be seen lowering his head and raising his hand to his forehead.
In videos of the exchange Mr Trump appears to be moving his middle finger across his forehead and toward his ear.
Video and images of the moment quickly spread online as many believe the president was giving a subtle “middle finger” gesture to the female astronaut for pointing out his embarrassing mistake.
Body language expert Dr Louise Mahler told Yahoo News Australia it does appear that he is making the gesture, but she does not think it is a reaction to being corrected by the astronaut, but may have been intended for someone else.
TRUMP GIVES MIDDLE FINGER - THREAD— cαηα∂α нαтεs тя☭мρ (@POzzur) October 19, 2019
1) This caught my attention after @BrianKarem tweeted about Trump apparently giving the #womeninspace astronauts the middle finger after being interrupted. You can see him do the gesture at the end of this clip and he seemed totally annoyed: pic.twitter.com/XYer812aS4
“I do not believe his finger was intended for the astronaut, but to his advisors or writers,” she said.
Analysing the video Dr Mahler said Mr Trump looks “furious” and “very, very tired”.
“When the astronaut gently contradicts him, he closes his eyes and then he sharply turns, to who are undoubtably his advisors/writers, in fury with a downturned mouth and glaring eyes,” she said.
Dr Mahler doesn’t believe the finger was taken out of context and Mr Trump was aware of what he was doing, saying that placing his finger on his brow is not a regular move for the president.
“He does not scratch, he does not alter his hair, it is just a finger and at the same time his jaw drops and his mouth slightly open in despair as if to say ‘I don’t believe this has happened’”. Dr Mahler said.
Some people online have suggested Mr Trump apologise to the female astronauts but Dr Mahler said the gesture is purely for Trump staff.
“This, I believe, is an explicit gesture to be read by his entourage and is not intended for the outside world,” Dr Mahler said.
While it’s unclear who wrote the speech for the president Dr Mahler told Yahoo that Trump will make sure the mistake will not go unnoticed.
“You could even say the movement that follows, backwards to his head with the finger, could be a gun shot that implies there will be repercussions for the incorrect information he was given to read,” she said.
President Trump has not tweeted about the incident.
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