Body language experts comparing Barack and Michelle Obama in relation to Donald and Melania Trump on Inauguration Day found stark differences.
In examining videos of the outgoing and incoming First Couples on January 20, two professional communication and body language experts said that the Obamas appeared to have a marriage based on trust and respect, while the Trumps appeared stiff and distant.
“If you didn’t know that [Donald and Melania Trump] were married, you wouldn’t know that they are married,” said body language expert Susan Constantine in a phone interview with Mic.com.
Indeed, several videos distributed by Twitter users appear to confirm the opinions of Constantine and body language expert Patti Wood, both of whom said Trump’s interactions with his wife appeared uncomfortable and bizarre. In the video below posted by Liam Donovan, Melania is seen smiling at her husband when he’s looking in her direction, but immediately frowns and looks down when he turns his head.
In another video, President Trump is seen walking from his vehicle up the stairs to greet the Obamas, while leaving Melania in the car. President Obama had to help her up the steps, while her husband ignored her entirely.
“He didn’t even look back to see if she was there or help her up the stairs,” Wood said. “He does a quick glance as if she was anybody and he doesn’t touch her.”
— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) January 23, 2017
Perhaps one of the most viral tweets of the entire inauguration ceremony was when Melania was being escorted to the platform of the U.S. Capitol at her husband’s swearing-in ceremony. When she arrives at Donald’s side, he only nods in her direction. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama stands next to her husband, who holds her hand and gently kisses it.
“It’s a very tender moment,” said Wood. “It seems spontaneous.”
I'm so glad this GIF exists. pic.twitter.com/a4BNmzfa5C
— summer. (@SummerNazif) January 21, 2017
“Melania is an object to [Trump],” Constantine said in reference to the First Couple’s behavior. “I don’t see any warmth or true love and compassion in that relationship whatsoever.”
Wood told Mic one of the most revealing moments of the day came when Melania Trump presented Michelle Obama with a gift, which Obama appeared unsure of what to do with it after accepting it. Barack then stopped what he was doing and walked over to help his wife with the gift.
“It’s a great couple moment, like, ‘Oh, honey, I’ll take care of this for you,'” Wood said.
One frequent topic of discussion on the night of the inauguration was Donald and Melania Trump’s first dance. Wood noted that the First Lady was leaning away from her husband during the awkward dance and holding her husband’s hand with her fingers almost fully extended, while President Trump pulled her into his pelvis.
“That typically says, ‘I don’t want to merge with you as a partner,'” Wood told Mic, in reference to Melania’s posture.
The stiff body language between the new First Couple may have something to do with the fact that Trump has been caught openly bragging about sexual assault in a leaked 2005 interview, which took place while Melania was pregnant with their son, Barron Trump. Their relationship was likely also strained by allegations by over a dozen women of Trump raping them, sexually assaulting them, and exhibiting sexually predatory behavior around them.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook.