Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3679: Donald Trump, Enrique Peña Nieto and The Wall — Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (PHOTOS)
Yesterday Donald Trump visited with President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City. During a subsequent press conference Trump was asked, “… Is there any chance Mexico paying the wall?”
The two men then looked at each other and President Peña Nieto gestured toward Mr. Trump. The businessman then answered, “Well, I’ll start. I mean nothing like an easy question like that. We did discuss the wall. We didn’t discuss payment of the wall. Ah, that’ll be for a later date. This was a very preliminary meeting …”
[From a Statement Analysis perspective, Donald Trump saying, “… I mean nothing like an easy question like that …” — this was a stall technique, which gave Trump time to formulate his answer. Why also call a question easy? Because it wasn’t. The opposite and hyperbolic nature of this sentence is a misdirecting tactic.]
Enrique Peña Nieto should have not waited, gestured or acquiesced this crucial moment — he should answered the question first. Moreover he didn’t refute Trump’s statement in person. Yet a few hours later the Peña Nieto tweeted, “At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall”.
The image above was captured as the two men were walking off stage at the end of the press conference. President Peña Nieto’s face is very telling in this moment. His jaw is clenched and mildly jutting forward. His “mustache area” is tightened and his nostrils are flared. Eyebrow lowering and tension in his left lower eyelid is also noted. This nonverbal cluster is indicative of both anger and disgust.
Mr. Trump is committing a nonverbal act of “False Intimacy” which in this context is also a hyper alpha display. Despite what he said earlier in his speech, he and the Mexican President are not friends. However even if they were, the invasion of another person’s personal space (more specifically intimate space with touching) when not invited to do so — and then guiding them off stage (or through a doorway, etc.) is patronizing and arrogant. This body language faux pas is further amplified by it taking place in the Mexican capitol and in the setting of a press conference.
Summary: President Peña Nieto feels both anger and disgust toward Donald Trump. Trump’s touching of Peña Nieto and ushering him off stage was a patronizing and hyper alpha display of false intimacy.