The presidential debate — which aired on Tuesday, September 29 — was one for the books. Not only did President Donald Trump and Joe Biden argue and interrupt each other during the full hour and a half, but they managed to insult each other along the way, too.
According to Human Behavior Labs president Susan Constantine, who specializes in reading people, body language and human behavior, Trump “confronted Biden as if they were in a boxing match,” she exclusively tells OK!, adding that “Biden’s approach was less commanding.”
Constantine noted that Trump’s “expressions, tones and gestures remained powerful and dominant” while speaking and his “sharp and swift gestures aligned with seriousness.” On the other hand, Biden, 77, had a “softer approach” and “flustered easily” but “his gestures were more controlled,” and he spoke “directly to the people.”
“Overall, Trump was the lion and Biden was the lion tamer,” she adds.
Tonya Reiman, author of three books on body language and human behavior, also tells OK! that when Trump, 74, “becomes anxious, frustrated, angry or nervous, he does several gestures, which were on full display last night.”
“He tends to sway back and forth, he does hard swallows, shallow breathing, tongue protrusions, lip purses and squinting,” she says. “Trump had some strong answers, however, his behavior was that of a petulant child — constantly interrupting and speaking over Biden as well as the moderator.
“Some will tell you this is the sign of an ‘alpha’ or ‘dominant’ male — someone who is merely confident, but it’s not,” she explains. “It is the signature of an individual who has no impulse control and feels he is entitled to speak whenever he has the urge. It demonstrates a lack of respect for the two others he is with.”
Reiman notes that Trump is “a confident man” but when someone insults him, “he doesn’t handle it well and lashes out.”
Biden “tends to be rather affable so he laughs a lot, however, he also tends to use that laugh/smile to cover up other emotions,” she says. “We saw last night at certain points he used the smile as a mask to cover his anger. Over smiling or ‘permagrinning’ gives the impression that you are weak and submissive as the smile typically tells another ‘I mean you no harm.’
“Overall, I would say Biden did a better job than Trump nonverbally,” she concludes.
During the heated argument, Biden got frustrated after Trump interrupted him every time he spoke. “Would you shut up, man?” he asked the president.
Moderator Chris Wallace also couldn’t keep Trump in line. “Frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting,” he stated.
“It’s hard to get any word in with this clown,” Biden said while throwing up his hands.
Trump — who failed to condemn white supremacists and claimed that he has kept the coronavirus at bay — questioned Biden’s intelligence. “Did you use the word smart?” he asked. “You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don’t ever use the word smart with me, Joe.”
Despite Trump insulting Hunter Biden, the politician spoke from the heart and did his best to speak to viewers at home instead of engaging with the former reality star. “This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division,” Biden said.
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