Trump and Melania’s Body Language Over the years has been Analyzed by Two Experts


Two Experts Analyze Donald and Melania Trump’s Body Language Over the Years

Real estate magnate Donald Trump and girlfriend, model Melania Knauss, take in game between the New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies at Shea Stadium

After two hand swats and an iconic face fall, the people want to know: just what the hell is going on with Donald and Melania? It’s not like their relationship hasn’t raised eyebrows before. But was it always like this? Well, sort of.

We asked two body language experts to look into how their interactions with each other have changed since they started dating.

Donald and Melania in 1999

Donald and Melania in 1999

This photo was taken in March 1999, at the beginning of their relationship (and a few months before Donald Trump’s divorce from Marla Maples was finalized.) “What’s significant here is he’s showing an ownership gesture by having his arm around her like that,” said Patti Wood, body language expert. “He is confident and proud and wants to be seen as a unit with her, and he’s got that look of pride, alpha pride.” 

Melania, however, has a “double cross” with her arms and legs. And while that could partly be to keep her short skirt in order, Wood says the gesture is “pretty strong in that she doesn’t want to be seen as too sexual, and is closing herself off sexually slightly to him.”

onald Trump plays a closeup scene with friend Melania Knauss at the Paramount Hotel's 10th anniversary party at the hotel on W. 46th St.

A year later, they have much the same dynamic. “That touch on her forearm, that’s a modified ownership cue, but it shows more tenderness because it’s not a heavy grip,” says Wood. What’s notable here is that they’re looking at each other, and appear engaged in conversation. “This is probably what their baseline was.”

Real estate magnate Donald Trump and girlfriend, model Melania Knauss, take in game between the New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies at Shea Stadium

“She’s not looking super happy and neither is he,” said Wood. Is that the result of a boring ballgame, or because they’re getting bored with each other?

Donald and Melania at a Manolo Blahnik Exhibition in 2003

Melania Knauss and Donald Trump during Launch Party For Manolo Blahnik Exhibition Hosted by Anna Wintour and Candy Pratts Price Presented by at Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg in New York City, New York, United States.

From about this point on, it was rare to find a photo of the two in which Melania was smiling. There are some candid shots, but when she’s posing, she’s giving her best Blue Steel. Donald, on the other hand, is very happy here. “He’s showing his front teeth, for men that’s a joyful smile,” said Wood. And while Melania is looking a bit tense, she still has “happy eyes.”

Donald Trump sits close to his girlfriend Melania Knaus at the Men's Health Magazine Bash for the 50th Birthday of Page Six Editor Richard Johnson held at Marquee

“She’s contained and he’s all over her,” said Dr. Lillian Glass, a communications consultant. Wood agrees, and calls Donald’s posture “very unusual.” She argues this shows Donald is very comfortable with being sexual with Melania, while she’s less enthused. “They’re definitely a couple, definitely a sexual couple, but she’s not super comfortable with the fact that he is surrounding her like that,” said Wood.

Donald Trump and Melania Trump make their way on Ocean Drive to Casa Casuarina on March 4, 2005 in Miami Beach, Florida

Even though Melania is looking tenser as the years go on, there are moments of affection. “She’s totally leaning in towards him, they’re looking in the same direction, which is a great thing,” said Dr. Glass. “He’s touching her at the wrist, which is very close.”

Donald and Melania at the ballet in 2008

Donald and Melania Trump attend the American Ballet Theatre premiere of 'Cake' at the Joyce Theater on May 1, 2008 in New York City

Melania is smiling here, but it appears to be a very tense smile. And while Donald has his arm around her, he’s not leaning in or smiling. It seems like they’re just giving the photographer what they want.

Donald and Melania at Wollman Rink in 2011

Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend the 2011 Skating With the Stars Gala at Wollman Rink

Almost 12 years into their relationship, Dr. Glass says “you can see the breakage.” There is tension in both their faces, and they’re not leaning together. Again, it could be boredom or the fact that it’s cold outside. But let’s face it, they both look pissed.

Donald and Melania at the Final Iowa Campaign Rally in 2016

Donald Trump Holds Final Iowa Campaign Rallies On Day Of Caucuses

Have two people ever looked like they didn’t want to kiss each other more than in this photo? “It’s not even a direct kiss, it’s more of a kiss for the camera,” says Dr. Glass. The moment feels forced, like they know they have to perform for the crowd, but there’s no intimacy.

Melania at Donald Trump’s Inauguration

Melania Trump face fall


Ahh, the face fall heard ’round the world. Some argue that Donald was actually talking to Ivanka when he turned around, and that Melania’s reaction was actually about her stepdaughter, but given that she wasn’t going to be moving into the White House, and that Donald had rudely walked ahead of her when meeting the Obamas earlier that day, everything added up to her being generally miserable.

Donald, Melania and Barron walking to Marine One in March 2017

“It’s such a bizarre hand hold,” said Wood,”because she’s going in to interlace her hands with his, but he’s giving her a fist, and he’s refusing it with a fist, which a symbolic weapon.” He’s giving no signal that he wants to be seen as a unit with her—a big change from when they first began dating. “He’s not even [holding her hand] to be that way in front of his son, to me that’s significant.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *