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Here's what Trump’s handshake really means, according to a body language expert

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Gary Ogden
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A body language expert looks at Trump, who is “desperate to be seen to be in charge”

Donald Trump’s handshake is one of the most annoying things in this wretched universe - it’s such a bullish and obvious attempt at a power-play, it’s gross and ugly and dripping in slime. In case you were unaware of its majestic awfulness, here’s a supercut (it’s a tough watch):

Hypnotherapist Anthony Jacquin gives a psychological breakdown of the president’s ‘clasp and yank’:

“Trump initiates his handshakes and adopts the dominant hand position – a way of asserting authority. Once a means of expressing equality between two parties, handshakes are now often used to show power. A study of senior managers showed that over 90 per cent adopted these strategies.”

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“Then he suddenly tugs, pulling the other person’s hand into his body, and often doesn’t let go. As children we’re taught how to shake hands, but Trump’s MO deviates from the pattern you’re expecting. This leads to a moment of disorientation, and provides an opportunity for him to slip you a suggestion.”

“He reinstates his dominance and often places his other hand on top. But you can counter this. Copy Canadian PM Justin Trudeau by placing your left hand on their upper arm. Or step forward so your bodies are inches apart. The handshake can then be reorientated, creating a sense of equality.”

However, when Trump met Kim Jong Un this week at a historic summit, things were slightly different - that wind-up handshake was notably absent:

But there’s a hell of a lot of other stuff going on - patting, staring, ushering - it’s a whirlwind of body language, and it’s tough to know what’s going on. Step in body language expert Paul Boross, to explain

“Trump and Kim - they are not playing to each other, they are playing to their audiences back at home, they’re very clear about the messages they wanted to give.

“Trump tries to overtake it with the pat and control, it is a control indicator. Trump tries to take over and he is doing as many pats as he can, which is very interesting because actually it doesn’t necessarily show the man who’s in charge.

“What it actually shows is the man who’s desperate to be seen to be in charge and that I think is where Kim actually stays very still and doesn’t react to the touches and actually, I think controls the situation without having to be seen to control the situation.”

He also mentioned that Kim had obviously “done his homework” and knew what to do to stop Trump’s stupid quest - he went in close for the handshake, thereby preventing Trump from overpowering him.

Interesting stuff, but it won’t be the last time we see Trump’s supremely venomous ‘clasp and yank’ - has he ever met The Rock? Let’s try and get him to yank The Rock - good luck, mate!

(Images: Getty/illustrations: The Diggers)

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Gary Ogden

Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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