Body Language Expert Dissects Trump's Bold Claims About His Legacy

Former president Donald Trump made his final public address about how he "Made America Great Again" on Jan. 19, 2021. The pre-recorded speech, made the day before Joe Biden's inauguration, saw Trump stay on script and closely follow his teleprompter. As per The Conversation's analysis on his speaking style, he was very much "official sounding Trump."

As there were no live press conferences nor speeches for the outgoing president, viewers weren't able to witness the 45th president ad-lib or use similar rhetoric to his "Twitter Trump" self. However, a body language expert claims there's more than meets the eye when it comes to Trump's final farewell. Nicki Swift spoke to Dr. Renée Carr about how the president's subtle mannerisms, tone, and words suggested he believes Joe Biden will "mess up" all his good work — and that at its core — he really just wanted to give himself a pat on the back. 

Expert says Donald Trump appeared 'sheepish' during his farewell speech

Dr. Renée Carr told Nicki Swift that Trump appeared "sheepish" and embarrassed when he began his farewell speech. "He swung his lower body from side to side as a child would do when feeling timidity, uncertainty, or embarrassment," said Carr. However, Trump tried to conceal such sentiments when pouring his heart out about how "honored" he was to serve as president. Carr said he looked directly into the camera and wanted "to convey his sincerity and extreme pride in having been president." Despite this, Carr claimed his words lacked compassion and "heartfelt appreciation" and instead asserted that the outgoing president bragged about his term achievements. "Trump spent the majority of the speech listing his activities and self-proclaimed accomplishments," said Carr. 

Trump talked of "momentous" policies and deals, including tax cuts and reforms, tariffs on China, and increased employment, and on several occasions, Trump mentioned how he had built the "greatest economy in the history of the world." It's this "incredible economy" his administration achieved that Trump said saw the whole world suffer — except the United States — when COVID hit. 

Expert says Trump wants us to 'applaud his efforts'

Dr. Renée Carr told Nicki Swift that Trump wants to be remembered for not only his economic policies, but for the adversities he faced during a challenging 2020. He "emphasized that his economic successes as president were not only 'great' on their own, but even greater because he had to overcome such extreme obstacles," said Carr. 

Trump said he took on the "tough battles" and even touted his prowess as he orchestrated a "medical miracle." The former president said he produced "not one, but two" COVID-19 vaccines in "record breaking speed." He also snubbed those who didn't believe in him. "They said it couldn't be done but we did it ... another administration would have taken three, four, five maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine, we did it in nine months," said Trump. Carr said he used "strong descriptors" to indicate how he hopes to be remembered in the history books. "For example, he claimed the COVID-19 vaccine as a 'medical miracle' and stated this twice to emphasize and applaud his efforts," said Carr. 

Was Donald Trump 'nervous' when addressing his wife?

Despite attempts to appear confident and strong, Dr. Renée Carr told Nicki Swift that one segment of Donald Trump's farewell speech stood out to her. Carr said Trump appeared "timid" when he thanked both his wife, Melania Trump, and also former Vice President Mike Pence. According to Carr, prior to the outgoing president mentioning Melania's name, he swings side-to-side because he is allegedly "conflicted" about making a statement about her. "He is indeed appreciative of Melania having served next to him as his first lady but there is an unspoken uncertainty of what their marital future holds," said Carr. 

When referencing Pence, Carr also detected a change, suggesting that camera angles may have been adjusted to hide the reported tension between the outgoing president and vice-president. "The camera trick was a way to hide that the segment of the rehearsed speech took deep compromising on behalf of the president," said Carr. 

Body language expert reveals how Trump really feels about Biden

Despite Donald Trump extending his "best wishes" to the Biden administration, Dr. Renée Carr told Nicki Swift the outgoing president was also "passive-aggressive" to his successor. At the beginning of his farewell speech, Trump said he "wants them to have luck. A very important word." Carr said Trump stressed the word "luck," perhaps to indicate that luck is all he thinks Biden has going for him. "This passive-aggressive comment was to remind America that he believes President Joe Biden is unfit for the role as president and that only 'luck' will allow Biden to be successful."

Trump also gave himself credit for America's standing abroad, claiming "the world respects us again" and not to "mess it up." Carr likened his comments to a "mimicking father who is about to leave his teenagers home alone." In her view, "he emphasizes that he alone worked tirelessly to correct a negative world view of America's leadership following President Obama's term and that Biden is to not 'mess up' his hard work." 

Trump may believe his hard work extends beyond his presidency. When concluding his speech, Carr said he began "boasting" about his "thousands" of supporters. "He is aware of his power and influence and that he has no intention of letting go of his loyal following."

Now that Trump is no longer part of the social media-sphere, it's hard to say how he'll continue to vocalize his views for his followers.