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“EXCLUSIVE: Body language expert Bruce Durham believes that Donald Trump was playing mind games in his latest video message – trying to keep his supporters on side while still being able to say he said what he was needed to say – claiming it shows ‘the manipulator in all his glory’.“
I don’t agree with this analysis. I think Trump is basically a “prisoner” and isn’t in a position to play games. But for what it’s worth, here is Mr Durham’s take:
“From a body language perspective, we can look at the grasp of the hands. Trump repeatedly creates a ‘cradle’ of the fingers, a self sooth when the fingers are interlinked. We see no ‘steepling’ of the fingers – where just the tips of the fingers and thumbs touch each other creating a triangle shape.
Anyone in his position, or any politician, will have received communication or media training. They are trained to ‘show’ steeping. They understand that steepling is a ‘power position’ as it shows calmness and authority.
The cradle position however is shown at times when you are uncomfortable with what is being said or what you or someone else is doing. He adopts the cradle position for most of the speech so you can safely ascertain that he is uncomfortable with the majority of the speech.“
Sure. He’s under stress.
“Another factor to note is his cadence and inflection. Donald is a very capable orator. Quick witted, sharp and has the ability to charm, but here in this speech, you will notice a drawl, a fatigued energy, but he is over emphasising it.
This is Trump being defiant. Yes he is being made to say it, yes he knows it will help him right now, but that huge dose of narcissism within Trump does not like having to follow anyone else’s rules but Donald’s.“
Nah. He “over-emphasises” because he’s having to force the words out of his mouth. I mean yes you could call it a bit passive-aggressive but no actor is perfect. It’s not “defiance”. It’s not like Hugo Chavez’s great “por ahora” speech.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it was pre-recorded, okayed by Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, or by both of them, (perhaps even after a retake or two – although that’s doubtful, given that Trump is actually a skilled performer, a real “trooper” in the theatrical sense), and then one or both of Pelosi and McConnell clicked the button to send it out at exactly the moment THEY wanted.
“By slowing down his speech, by making it so obvious, this is Trump playing mind games. He is showing, if only to himself, that he is still in control of the situation.“
Well if it’s only to himself it’s hardly a “mind game”.
“Apathy is also at play here, a bit like a school child being sent to bed, but dragging your heels as you ascend the stairs, kicking every stair as you slowly go and slamming the door when you get up there.“
That’s not apathy. It’s passive aggression, perhaps with a bit of acting out, but definitely passive aggression. Being tired doesn’t have to stop a person from being passive aggressive.
“But, there is also a more powerful message here. He is overemphasizing the message as he wants to show that he is towing the line (to a small extent at least purely from a self-preservation standpoint) but he also wants to make it clear to his supporters that he is being placed under duress to relay this message.“
Screw his supporters. Why should Trump want to send those jerks a message? What use does he have for them?
He’s a crazy b*stard, but he doesn’t think he’s going to keep the presidency after 20 January, or even lead one side in a rerun of the Civil War with the aim of reversing the result. His main concern will be…what Bruce said…self-preservation. I.e.
* staying alive,
* staying out of prison,
* keeping his properties and assets, and
* receiving whatever payments he has been promised by those he has “helped” (who may decide, given his weak position, that they don’t know about any such agreements – THAT’S BUSINESS).