The behaviour of President Donald Trump and the First Lady has been under intense scrutiny in the days following his inaugural celebrations in Washington DC on 20 January, partly in a bid to better understand the nature of their relationship - and thereby the character of America's new leader.
The dance the couple shared at an inauguration ball which was widely described on social media described as “awkward”, and a clip where she appears to smile falsely at her husband, have attracted the most inspection. In turn, these have been compared to the apparently warm interactions between former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
By studying images of the couple, including at the inauguration and before the President’s bid for the White House, India Ford, body language trainer and founder of Talkbodylanguage, told The Independent that she believes Mrs Trump behaves towards her "narcissistic" husband “like a child looking for constant validation.”
Commenting on footage of Mrs Trump defending the then-Presidential candidate in an interview with CNN last year, after footage emerged of him saying that he could “grab” women by the “pussy”, Ford said she believed that she had been “heavily coached” prior to the TV appearance.
Mrs Trump told CNN presenter Anderson Cooper during the interview last year. “But my husband is real. He's raw. He tells it like it is. He's kind. He's a gentleman. He supports everybody. He supports women. He encourages them to go to the highest level, to achieve their dreams. He employs many, many women,”
“When she speaks, it’s quite robotic, it’s clear the answers been heavily drilled in to her. She also responds to questions in the same way as Trump, in that she does not really answer the question, but uses interviews as a chance to sell her husband’s campaign promises,“ argues Ford.
In general, Mrs Trump’s body language always appears “stilted” whenever she has appeared or spoken in public in the run-up to and following the election, most notably at the inauguration, she adds.
“She just didn’t look comfortable in her skin especially around Trump. She appeared on the inauguration day as though she was walking on egg shells around him, nervous and uncomfortable."
“Mrs Trump appears to be constantly keeping herself in check. There is very little natural body movement and her gestures are very minimal – she very rarely looks at ease’.
But Ford adds that Mrs Trump behaves “as though she loves and adores her husband“ and it seems the reason why she is so contained is because ”her overriding objective appears to be make him as proud as possible and she doesn’t want to put a foot wrong”.
“Like a child looks for validation from a parent, she appears to be looking for validation from him,” she says referring to the footage of Mrs Trump’s smile quickly fading as her husband’s back turns.
However, Ford argues that Trump doesn’t seem as in tune with his wife's emotions, which was clear to see on the day of the inauguration, when barely any attempt was made by Trump to offer any kind of tactile support or reassurance”.
In contrast, in a 2011 interview in which Mrs Trump speaks in favour of the birther movement conspiracy, which claimed that President Barack Obama wasn’t a US citizen, she appears slightly more relaxed.
“She would very likely have been coached but she appears more relaxed, her facial expression is softer, she’s leaning forward, and she is gesticulating more. It was a far less stilted performance’.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies