'Like a puppet': Trump's subtle body language clues in post impeachment speech

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·3-min read

Donald Trump gave away subtle hints in his speech following his impeachment strongly suggesting his message was scripted by somebody else, a body language expert says.

Sophie Zadeh, founder of My Alcomy, told Yahoo News Australia there were some clues in Trump’s latest speech that suggested he felt detached from what he was saying.

The speech on Wednesday (local time) came after the President was impeached by the House of Representatives.

While he made no reference to the impeachment vote, he used the speech posted to the official White House Twitter account to denounce the violent riots at the US Capitol that saw Trump accused of inciting insurrection.

In the video, Trump said violence and vandalism had “absolutely no place” in the United States and no true supporter of his would endorse political violence.

Donald Trump clenches his fists in a video of his speech.
The lack of Trump's hand gestures suggest he is disconnected from what he is saying. Source: Twitter

Speculation was rife following the emergence of the video, with some saying he was attempting to protect himself ahead of a possible Senate trial.

“Trump delivers this message without his usual emotion and elaborate hand gestures,” Ms Zadeh told Yahoo News Australia.

“These are not his words – he isn’t emotionally connected to them.

“There are less nonverbal behaviours to see, as nuances in body language and expression are tied to our emotion, changing from moment to moment.

“Emotion investment is lacking. Like a puppet, Trump is delivering a message scripted by somebody else.”

Trump’s subtle expression of sadness

Ms Zadeh added a subtle but ongoing expression on his face suggested Trump felt waves of sadness following the impeachment.

“In the universal expression of sadness, the inner corners of the eyebrows are raised and pulled together, resulting in the appearance of droopy eyes,” she said.

“It’s hard to spot because it’s subtle and ongoing, so we don’t see the facial movement take place.”

A close-up of Trump's eyes show them looking droopy and sad.
Trump's droopy eyes suggest he is feeling sad, a body language expert says. Source: Twitter

Ms Zadeh said Trump’s voice was more monotone than usual with less vocal variance.

“Most probably, his expression and voice are a reflection of his mood. Moods last longer than emotions, which can change from moment to moment. Is this a sign of defeat?” she wondered.

The one moment Trump revealed anger

Ms Zadeh said at one point towards the end of the speech there was a change in Trump’s behaviour that suggested he was becoming emotionally invested in what he was saying.

“As he concludes speaking about the events from last week – on the very last word, ‘grace’, we see a narrowing of the lower eyelid, a muscle movement connected to the emotion of anger,” she said.

“At this point, Trump transitions into talking about the ‘unprecedented assault on free speech’, where again, we see the eyes narrow on ‘free speech’.

“It’s likely that he’s referring to, and thinking about, the shutting down of his social media accounts.

“He’s emotionally invested, with his nonverbal behaviour reflecting it.”

Ms Zadeh said his emotional investment as he transitioned from speaking about violence to the assault on free speech, suggested that part of the speech was included at Trump’s own insistence.

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