Body Language Analysis №3642 (Reposting): Did Donald Trump Know Vladimir Putin Prior to The 2016 Election? — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
This is a reposting of an analysis originally published on 1 August 2016 (a little more than three months prior to the Presidential Election). The subject of this article is Donald Trump’s and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s relationship. More specifically, did then-candidate Trump know President Putin?
Updated cross-references at the bottom of the page, the title, and one word (“was” rather than “is”) has been changed. The word “verbal” has been added and two added commas have been placed. Otherwise, the remainder of the content is unchanged.
Beginning at 2:16, George Stephanopoulos asks the Republican Candidate for President: “What exactly is your relationship with Vladimir Putin?”
Trump answers: “I have no relationship with Putin. I have no relationship with Putin.”
Now, listen again carefully to Trump’s response. In his first sentence, as he says the word “relationship”, he stretches out his “r” pronunciation. Also, at the end of the word he stutters so that the word sounds like “… rrelationship,ip …”.
Of paramount importance, in his second sentence — Trump’s speech trails off when he says, “Putin”. The word is spoken much quieter than the other words in the sentence and also when compared to Trump’s overwhelming pattern of talking louder than other people around him. Moreover, within speaking that single word, (“Putin”) his volume is decrescendoing — subsequently, the end of the word “Putin” can barely be heard.
As he says, “with Putin” in the second sentence, Trump breaks his eye contact with Stephanopoulos. The timing of his looking away is crucial because he is making a declarative statement with the subject of his sentence (Putin) as well as the volume patterns mentioned previously.
Moreover, Trump also looks down to his right. When a momentary drop of eye contact does occur during deception, this is the quadrant to which most right-hand dominant people will most often look (Trump is right-handed).
To review, we see the following behavior clustered during Trump’s short answer:
1. Stuttering during word “relationship”
2. Decrescendo/rapidly waning volume with a crucial word (“Putin”)
A. Atypical pattern vs. rest of sentence
B. Atypical speech pattern for Trump
3. Lack of eye contact during a “Putin”
4. Looking down to the right during “with Putin”
Summary: Donald Trump has a hesitancy to speak both the words, “relationship” — as well as “Putin”. He also does not want to look Stephanopoulos in the eye when he says, “Putin”. Donald Trump is exhibiting an absolutely classic cluster of paralanguage and nonverbal behaviors which are disparate with his words. Donald Trump believes he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin — and his belief is contradictory with his verbal statement which he made during this interview. Donald Trump was lying.
The next time Steven Spielberg is directing a scene in which an actor is telling a lie — he should look to this example.
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This post and the associated website serve as reference sources for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts — not to advance any political, religious, or other agenda.