Wednesday 20 September 2017

Why we should be worried about Donald Trump avoiding holding hands with Melania

Donald Trump and his wife Melania greet reporters in the spin room following a debate sponsored by Fox News at the Fox Theatre on March 3, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. Voters in Michigan will go to the polls March 8 for the State's primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and his wife Melania greet reporters in the spin room following a debate sponsored by Fox News at the Fox Theatre on March 3, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. Voters in Michigan will go to the polls March 8 for the State's primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama (R) gives Michelle Obama a kiss as they wait for President-elect Donald Trump and wife Melania at the White House before the inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with his wife Melania Trump on the tarmac after he arrived on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport for a visit to his Mar-a-Lago Resort for the weekend on February 3, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida. President Donald Trump is on his his first visit to Palm Beach since his inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Rachel Hosie

When it comes to public displays of affection, everyone’s different. Whilst some couples happily make out when surrounded by lots of people, others feeling uncomfortable simply holding hands with their significant other.

Recent developments show that the new President of the US may be in the latter camp, but according to a body language expert, this could suggest more than just an uneasiness with public intimacy.

Body language expert Patti Wood believes Trump’s reluctance to hold his wife’s hand could be because he wants to be seen as a “presidential alpha.”

After arriving at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida on Friday, Donald and Melania Trump had a brief and awkward-looking hand-hold before he quickly let go of her hand to clap along with the supporters who’d turned out to greet the couple.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks with his wife Melania Trump on the tarmac after he arrived on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport for a visit to his Mar-a-Lago Resort for the weekend on February 3, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida. President Donald Trump is on his his first visit to Palm Beach since his inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with his wife Melania Trump on the tarmac after he arrived on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport for a visit to his Mar-a-Lago Resort for the weekend on February 3, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida. President Donald Trump is on his his first visit to Palm Beach since his inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Even more awkwardly, when Melania took her husband’s hand again, POTUS then gave it a quick couple of pats before letting go again.

“Typically a hand-hold shows a couple as a unit,” body language expert Patti Wood told the Mail Online.

“But to me, I think he's been saying, ‘I want to be seen as the president on my own’, which is very much alpha. ‘I want to be just the powerful me.’ And it's clear that that's his choice.”

The outing was Melania’s first public appearance since the new President’s inauguration two weeks ago.

President Barack Obama (R) gives Michelle Obama a kiss as they wait for President-elect Donald Trump and wife Melania at the White House before the inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama (R) gives Michelle Obama a kiss as they wait for President-elect Donald Trump and wife Melania at the White House before the inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

It’s a stark contrast from the public appearance of former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle’s relationship - we frequently saw the couple hugging, putting their arms around one another and kissing.

And there’s a lot that can be inferred from how a presidential couple acts in public.

“Holding hands can communicate so much about an individual and a couple, depending on the position of the hands, who reaches in first, who breaks it first,” explains Wood, who’s fascinated that the Trumps are holding hands at all.

“They hold hands in private, so we know that there's a coupleness that we weren't seeing in public or at the inauguration,” she added.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Wood believes the way Donald patted Melania’s hand - using his flat palm with his fingers separated - was not an affectionate gesture.

“It could have been affection if he'd cupped his hand, if he'd done it with sweetness, or if he had kissed her and done it,” she said, but Wood believes the gesture reveals the power Donald has over Melania.

“He pulls it up towards him, it has some admonishing to it, some power, and then he has that flat hand to say, ‘No no.’ He's smiling as he does it. He's not mad. He's fully in control of what's happening,” she explained.

Wood points out that before becoming president, Trump showed more affection to Melania in public - now, however, she believes he doesn’t want to be seen as a unit, all to seem more “alpha”.

Independent News Service

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