Body Language Analysis №4045: Rex Tillerson Regarding Donald Trump, “The President Speaks for Himself” — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Two days ago the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was a guest on Fox News Sunday. The Secretary made a statement, in which, many people feel he made a clear distinction between the President’s statements and values from his own — as well as from traditional and ongoing American values.
What follows is a partial transcript as well as a partial nonverbal analysis of this crucial exchange.
CHRIS WALLACE (beginning at 0:39): Does that make it harder for you to push American values around the World when some foreign leaders question the President’s values?
SECRETARY TILLERSON: Ah, Chris we express America’s values from the State Department. We represent the American people. We represent America’s values, our commitment to freedom, our commitment to equal treatment of people the World over — and that message has never changed.
CHRIS WALLACE: And, when the President gets into the kind of controversy he does and the UN Committee responds the way it does — it seems to say, they, they begin to doubt — our, whether we’re living those *values.
SECRETARY TILLERSON: I don’t believe anyone doubts the American people’s values or the commitment of the, *American government, or the government’s agencies to advancing those values and defending those values.
CHRIS WALLACE: And, and the President’s values?
SECRETARY TILLERSON: The President speaks for himself, Chris.
CHRIS WALLACE: Are you — separating yourself from that, Sir?
SECRETARY TILLERSON: I’ve spoken, I’ve made my own comments as to our values as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week *
CHRIS WALLACE: Mr. Secretary, thank you. Thanks for coming today. Always a pleasure to talk with you, Sir.
SECRETARY TILLERSON: My pleasure, Chris.
CHRIS WALLACE: Stay Safe.
During 1:13, as Chris Wallace says, “… they begin to doubt — our, whether we’re living thosevalues…”, Secretary Tillerson looks down and to his right simultaneous with displaying a “Tight Tongue Jut”.
A “Tight Tongue Jut” indicates the emotions of distaste, disdain, and disgust. Looking down and to the right is highly correlative with experiencing the emotions of sadness and regret.
Care must be taken to not confuse a “Tight Tongue Jut” with a “Loose Tongue Jut” — for although they appear somewhat similar, each has a completely different meaning.
As previously noted (see Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3816: Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson), Secretary Tillerson has a longstanding (tic-like) habit of speaking out of the side of his mouth. It’s quite extreme with the Secretary. When such speaking asymmetry occasionally occurs, it’s very often secondary to dishonesty. However, because this is, for the Secretary, his baseline idiosyncratic behavior — such a judgment of dishonesty would be erroneous. This makes the microexpression occurring at 1:17 a bit difficult to see. Just before he says, “American”, and during its first syllable, the Secretary of State’s left corner of his mouth pulls both down and out (laterally) in a unilateral expression of apprehension (with most people, this would be bilateral, but the Secretary’s asymmetrical speaking style masks this in a moment of symmetry).
During 1:38, Just after he says, “… I’ve made my own comments as to our values as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week…”, Secretary Tillerson displays a single, fixed, long-duration, head nod (aka as an “Alpha Head Nod Affirmation”). This momentary downward tilting of the head and neck (e.g., a single strong nod), while looking past one’s suddenly more prominent (and downward vectored) eyebrows — is a signal of finality. It’s very alphaand is a nonverbal way of saying, “Don’t question me regarding this issue” and “The matter is closed”.
You may also note in this same instant the mild-to-moderate tension in the Secretary’s “mustache region”, mild nostril flaring, and mild central forehead contraction — all of which, when in combination, are congruent with these same sentiments.
Summary: Secretary Tillerson feels distaste, disdain, disgust, regret, sadness, and apprehension — with the notion that, because of President Trump, people from other countries may be doubting whether or not US citizens are collectively living in a manner consistent with traditional American values.
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.