Melania Trump slaps President's hand away to say she won't be treated as a child, says body language expert

“He wants to be seen as a president. Not as part of a presidential couple,” Patti Wood says 

Rachel Hosie
Tuesday 23 May 2017 09:54 BST
People think Melania just slapped Donald Trump's hand away from hers in this video

Yesterday US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.

As always, the eyes of the public were watching their every move, and much has been made of a particular public moment between the couple.

After disembarking from the plane, the President walks ahead of his wife and holds his hand back for her to take.

Melania, however, swats it away, in what appears to be a display of couple disunity. But what does this mean? We asked body language expert Patti Wood what her opinion is.

Wood believes the First Lady’s action was deliberate: “He was walking way in front to show his power and putting his hand back to lead her like a child, her hand went under his and up and out to say ‘No, you can’t lead me like a child.’”

However it’s also possible Melania batted her husband away because she was cautious about showing public affection in Tel Aviv.

The incident could be a further sign of how the Trump’s relationship has changed since becoming the First Couple.

Wood points out that before the residency, she thinks their relationship was “high contact,” and “highly sexualised, with him touching intimate zones of her body in public freely and easily, typically as he smiled and even gloated.”

In the past few months, however, we’ve seen Trump often powering out in front of his wife and leaving her behind. “He wants to be seen as a president. Not as part of a presidential couple,” Wood explained to The Independent.

But in February, we saw the opposite happen: when Melania went to take her husband’s hand, he simply patted and dropped it, suggesting he didn’t want to hold hands.

Wood believes, on the whole, that Trump is calling the shots when it comes to their public image: “He is determining how they will present themselves.

“She tries to hold his hand at times in an affectionate way, which makes me think that was their normal way of walking. She is used to affection and often leans it to get it, but we see him turn away or smack her hand away in an admonishing way.

“There are also several photos where her response to his behaviour is hurt or anger.”

According to Wood, Melania’s body language around Trump has changed a lot in the past few months - she used to be “a model married to someone that desired her,” and her body language was “very loose, open and comfortable in her own skin.”

But now, Wood says Melania has become someone “whose shoulders go down, whose mouth turns down, who gives furtive, down-gazing looks, and who is tense, tight, small and unhappy.”

In fact, so much has been made of Melania’s facial expressions that ‘Sad Melania’ has become a meme, and many people believe she is unhappy in the marriage.

Whether the latest incident was a harmless gesture or a sign of something more problematic, we may never know.

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