While the other GOP hopefuls debated Wednesday night in Milwaukee, former President Donald Trump appeared in previously recorded interview with Tucker Carlson that began streaming on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, minutes before the debate kicked off.
Trump used much of the interview to argue that the other candidates were largely irrelevant, given his own dominant position in most polling.
What he was saying without words, however, was the subject of an article from lifestyle site The List, known for its coverage of the British royal family and other human interest subjects.
According to Mark Bowden, who the outlet described as a “renowned body language expert,” some of the most important aspects of Trump’s message weren’t vocalized.
Trump’s posture, Bowden said, indicated a man with a “sense of control” over his environment.
During much of the interview, Trump say with “hands ‘steepled,’ fingers wide, and thumbs up in a signal of confidence and power,” he explained.
Bowden also referred to Trump’s use of the “double shrug,” which he said indicated the former president’s “matter-of-factness.”
“Single shoulder shrugs are often associated with uncertainty, while a double shrug signifies matter-of-factness,” he said.
“On the question of why he is not at the debates, he is consistent in his use of the double shrug,” he added.
“I don’t think it’s right to do it,” Trump said, which was emphasized by the shrug that Bowden said “reinforces that he wants us to understand it’s more of a moral obligation not to attend.”
The body language expert also noted Trump’s gaze, which shifted from Carlson to the camera to reinforce certain points with his audience. For example, when Trump mentioned that he was leading in the polls by 50 or 60 points, and then mentioned “one poll” that had him 70 points up, “he looks at the camera again to ensure that we’re buying into the growing numbers,” Bowden said.
(The RealClearPolitics average of polls has Trump up 41.1 points over his closest challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. While that’s obviously a clear lead, it’s nothing like 50, 60 or 70 points — and no August poll listed in that average had Trump’s lead higher than 46 points.)
Trump did the same thing when he referred to DeSantis as a “lost cause.”
Bowden said that moment suggested that the Florida governor “may be who he sees as his biggest competition right now, and so he gives eye contact down the camera to the audience with this discrediting phrase.”
You can see some examples of what Bowden is describing in this short clip from the interview:
WATCH: When asked why he decided to skip the GOP Presidential debate tonight, President Trump explained to @TuckerCarlson that he’s over 50 points up in the polls, adding, “Do I sit there for an hour or two hours…and get harassed by people who shouldn’t even be running for… pic.twitter.com/eBZ4twavF2
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) August 24, 2023
The RealClearPolitics polling average has Trump at 55.4 points currently, with DeSantis at 14.3 percent, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy at 7.2, former Vice President Mike Pence at 4.0, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at 3.2, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott at 3.1, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 3.0. All of the other candidates were polling at less than 1 percent.
RCP shows Trump with a smaller but still commanding lead in the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses, leading DeSantis by 26 points.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.