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Trump's handshake says more than his mouth

What do those long handshakes mean? We talked to a body language specialist who explained Donald Trump’s other "language."

During Trump’s first three weeks in power, all his actions became a hot news topic: his messages, speeches, words... and even handshakes.

With the first visits of heads of state to the White House, the 45th POTUS has stood out with his greetings. For example, with Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he walked hand in hand. He also gave a strong handshake to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

But what does all this say about Donald Trump? Metro talked with Miriam Cervantes, Mexico-based body language specialist.

What does Trump’s form of greeting tell us?

It's very interesting, I noticed that for him it is customary to greet this way. It is usually a form of dominance. When you pull people, you are taking them to your personal space. It is an indicator that you may be a dominant person.

Trump shook hands with Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court nominee, and then tugged on his arm. The "pat" on the hands is an indirect message that he is going to be the dominant one, it is an example of insurmountable superiority; it’s known as the "godfather's greeting".

Why does he do it?

It's very significant. It makes the interlocutor uncomfortable. In addition, he does it very aggressively. He’s like a corkscrew, first he shakes you then he pulls you.

So, Trump is aggressive...

Trump has three signs of aggressiveness: his handshake, he pulls people into his personal area and casts an aggressive look.

When he walked hand in hand with the British prime minister, was he also being aggressive?

It's another form of dominance, he takes her hand with his palm facing down. Her palm facing up is an indicator of submission. The man is the one who takes the hand because he is who directs the walk. "I'm going to lead you, I'm going to take you" and he does it to his point of view.

She was the first head of state he received at the White House…

He's the one who commands everyone, practically everyone, when he's covering a hand with both hands, that is a message of dominion and power.

The greeting between Shinzo Abe and Donald Trump lasted 18 seconds. Did he do it on purpose or was it natural?

It comes naturally because he loves to make others uncomfortable. He is accustomed to doing so.

What should I do if a person greets me like Donald Trump?

One of the things you should do is turn your hand so both hands stand vertically. Turn both palms. That means that you do not submit me nor I submit you. We treat each other as equals, because we consider ourselves so. For example, Justin Trudeau marked his distance.

-Miguel Velázquez

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