Body language expert: Putin braced himself before shaking Trump’s hand at Helsinki summit


Body language expert Chris Ulrich says President Trump is a “master” when it comes to dealing with world leaders and pointed to his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as an example.

“Yes, and he’s very good at the following: [Trump] will get in your head before he even sits down with you,” Ulrich said, when asked by Hill.TV co-host Buck Sexton if it was “fair” to call Trump “a master of body language.”

Ulrich thinks it all comes to one of Trump’s most notorious techniques — his handshake.

“President Trump has this technique where he’ll grab you and he’ll pull you in,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich used Trump’s press conference with Putin in Helsinki as a prime example. He said Putin visibly braced himself before having to shake Trump’s hand.

“During the conversation toward the end, you’ll see Putin grab the chair and he braces himself with his hand. … It’s almost a display of reluctance — he doesn’t want to get pulled forward,” Ulrich told Hill.TV.

But Ulrich says not all world leaders share Putin’s reluctance, citing French President Emmanuel Macron’s approach at the Group of Seven summit.

“We see it with President Macron of France — he wouldn’t let go of his hand one time,” Ulrich said. “He shook his [Trump’s] hand so hard that there was an indent.”

Ulrich thinks this is nothing new among world leaders — handshakes are all about trying to get the upper hand. 

“These guys are always using hand shakes as a power dynamic to dominate,” Ulrich said.

— Tess Bonn

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