Outgoing-President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump put on a united front and vowed to work together in what appeared to be a friendly meeting at the White House Thursday.
Trump said he was ‘looking forward to dealing with the president in the future’, while Obama claimed he was ‘very encouraged by the interest in President-elect Trump to work with my team’.
But even to the untrained eye it was clear there was some tension, and body language expert Patti Wood has analyzed the first meeting between the most powerful man in America and the person chosen to replace him.
Obama was ‘extremely fatigued, resigned and not hopeful’, while Trump was ‘tentative, serious and perhaps fearful’, Wood told DailyMail.com.
Uncomfortable? Donald Trump and President Barack Obama sit together in the Oval Office following Tuesday’s shock election
Obama and Trump, whose election win sent shockwaves around the world on Wednesday, talked for more than 90 minutes in the Oval Office before addressing the media.
It was a public display intended to help the country digest the results of Tuesday’s presidential election after violent protests broke out across the country Wednesday night.
The president-elect called Obama a ‘very good man’.
‘If you look at the seating position – their lower legs,’ Wood explains, ‘they are both in the male, alpha position saying “I am a man”.’
‘Tentative’: Patti Wood says Trump’s hand position, which she calls ‘downward prayer position’, is not typical of the President-elect
Fearful? Wood says his hand position suggests he has learned something he didn’t know before
However, she adds that Obama’s legs are much further apart, which demonstrates strength and reveals he is subconsciously saying, ‘I’m still on top’.
But it was Trump’s hands that caught Wood’s attention – he put them in a ‘downward prayer position’.
‘The thing that is very significant is Trump’s hand position,’ Wood told DailyMail.com, describing it as the ‘downward prayer position’, which is not typical for the President-elect.
‘My read is that he has learned something he didn’t know before. It’s a tentative hand position.’
Alpha males: Wood points out that Obama’s legs are far wider than Trump’s, revealing he is subconsciously saying, ‘I’m still on top’
Response: Trump later brushed off any claims of awkwardness between the pair, insisting they had great ‘chemistry’
‘Trump holds his own hands as he begins speaking which is an indication he needs to comfort himself,’ she added.
Wood pointed out that as Obama gestures, he rests his arms on his legs. ‘That’s not typical Obama which tells me he is weary.’
The sitting president stressed during the meeting that his top priority was top ‘ensure our president-elect is successful.’
‘I have been very encouraged by the interest in President-elect Trump to work with my team around many of the issues that this great country faces and I believe that it is important for all regardless of party and regardless of political preferences to now come together, work together to deal with the many challenges we face,’ he said.
But Wood isn’t convinced. ‘There is a part where he says he has been encouraged,’ she said. ‘As he says it he closes his eyes. I call that an eye block. That tells me he doesn’t feel totally encouraged.’
President-elect Donald Trump and current President Barack Obama had an hour-long meeting at the White House on Wednesday morning
The pair shook hands during a photo-op following their one-on-one meeting in which they discussed policies
However, she does think Obama believes they have to ‘work together’ to face the challenges. And Trump was serious and sincere in his statements, she said.
Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, added: ‘Obama was extremely fatigued, resigned and not hopeful but very presidential.
‘Trump was serious and showed indications he heard information that made him fearful.’
Trump and the first lady in waiting, Melania arrived at the White House on Thursday morning through a back entrance that opens up to the White House’s South Lawn.
The private drive is inaccessible to media, and reporters were disallowed from covering the historic greeting between the incoming and outgoing first families.
A Wall Street Journal report says the White House cancelled the photo-op. The president’s spokesman forcefully pushed back on the assertion in his daily briefing.
‘That’s not true,’ he said.
Obama and Trump were surrounded by dozens of photographers and press members following their meeting in the Oval Office
The White House official angrily told reporters that they were given more access to events at the White House than they were in 2008, when the Oval Office last changed hands.
Then, journalists were allowed to photograph the Obamas arrival at the White House.
President George W Bush and his wife Laura gave the future first couple a warm welcome when they came to the White House on November 11, 2008 for a post-election briefing.
The Bushes made a show of it, posing for portraits with the president-elect and his wife in front of the White House’s private entrance. Bush lined up photographers to shoot he and Obama walking down the colonnade that leads to the Oval Office.
That did not happen today. No official photos have been released of the Trumps’ arrival or departure.
After the meeting Trump brushed off any claims of awkwardness between the pair. He wrote on Twitter: ‘A fantastic day in D.C. Met with President Obama for first time. Really good meeting, great chemistry. Melania liked Mrs. O a lot!’
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