Biden’s ‘power pat’ vs ‘fidgety’ Boris: Body language experts say PM looked less confident and tried to ‘appear strong’ in first meeting with ‘confident’ President
- Two leaders came face-to-face for the first time in Cornwall ahead of G7 summit
- Experts say Mr Biden had more authority judging by his posture and gestures
- At one stage he even placed the flat of his hand on the back of the Prime Minister
Body language experts claim Boris Johnson looked less confident and tried to ‘appear strong’ in his first face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden today.
The pair elbow-bumped and strolled on the promenade in Cornwall earlier, and as the leaders sat down for talks, Mr Biden told journalists he had joked to Mr Johnson that they both ‘married way above our stations’.
As well as taking the lead in cracking gags, Mr Biden also appeared the far more confident of the two premiers, with his commanding posture and a series of authoritative gestures.
This included a ‘power pat’ at one stage, where the President placed the flat of his hand on the back of the Prime Minister.
Darren Stanton, TV’s Human Lie Detector and leading body language expert told MailOnline: ‘The significance of placing a hand on the back of someone else and guiding them along is a pure submissive gesture, and is meant to convey the message ‘I am more powerful than you’.
‘President Biden seems very comfortable in his own skin and typically presidential in his posture and the way in which he moves. He is quite a tall thin man and takes large strides.
‘It was interesting to see Boris, who is shorter, and takes less [large] strides keeping up with him.’
President Biden shows off his ‘power pat’, after placing the flat of his hand on the back of the Prime Minister
As well as taking the lead in cracking gags, Mr Biden also appeared the far more confident of the two premiers, with his commanding posture and a series of authoritative gestures
The cheery appearances came in spite of a row over Brexit today, as the White House tried to put out the flames of a major transatlantic bust-up.
Brexiteer Tories had branded the 78-year-old Democrat ‘senile’ after he failed to side with the UK in its ‘sausage war’ bust-up with the EU, and the US President used his diplomats to express ‘great concern’ over the conflict.
Earlier in the day, the two leaders, along with their wives, Jill and Carrie, strolled along Carbis Bay.
Mr Stanton said their respective behaviours in this environment told a story of who was really holding the power in the much-trumpeted ‘Special Relationship’.
‘The initial footage where the four walked towards the view of the ocean is probably the most telling of all interactions that we have been able to see so far,’ he said.
‘Upon walking to the sea, Boris continues to make this rather odd hand gesture as if he is guiding President Biden.
‘However it’s clear he is not aware of [what the plan is] by asking an aide shortly after.
‘When we are in a position of authority and feel confident there is a classic gesture of placing our hands behind our backs.
‘We often see police officers do it, military personnel CEOs of companies and other authoritative figures.
‘This is an unconscious gesture of exposing the stomach and torso, we feel confident enough to psychologically expose some of our most vulnerable organs.’
The expert pointed out that Mr Johnson putting his hands in his pockets was perhaps another suggestion of submission.
‘When the two men are looking at an exhibition, Boris again adopts a similar sequence of postures where he does not know what to do with his hands,’ he said.
‘The whole thing ends up looking like he is fidgeting.
‘Overall I think Biden found the experience within his stride and was consistent with being presidential and confident, whilst Boris was less so.’
Newlywed Carrie Johnson cut an elegant figure in a scarlet £325 LK Bennett gown as she made her debut onto the world stage alongside her husband Boris today
US President Joe Biden puts his hand on Carrie Johnson’s back at Carbis Bay ahead of tomorrow’s crucial G7 summit
He added: ‘There is a fantastic picture of Biden and Boris standing in front of the American flag, where Boris has his head bowed, his hands behind his back, and Biden has his hand on his shoulder.
‘This is a fantastic shot and signifies Biden believes himself to be the powerful man the head bow is significant of a submission gesture.
‘When people bow their head it is to say ‘I am subservient to you’, such as in church, in court and when faced with others we perceive to be more powerful.’
However, he said there was a clear rapport between the two, and when sat down, Mr Johnson managed to portray a powerful position by placing his hands on his knees with his legs apart, similar to stances seen by the likes of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Looking at the body language of the wives as well, Mr Stanton added: ‘When Carrie is shrugging her shoulders in the red dress and President Biden as his hand on the back, this is the classic power gesture.
‘Although we know from other walkabouts President Biden is a very tactile man, this is kind of gesturing her in a direction, but could also be considered to be a power gesture.
‘During the elbow bump between the two wives, Mrs Biden seems to be taking it all in her stride as she is very used to this sort of media attention.
‘Carrie seems to be like a giggly school girl as clearly this is one of the first official engagements she has been involved in.
This year’s summit comes as the US is said to have issued a ‘demarche’ to Britain, an official diplomatic censure not normally used against allies, especially those as close as the two nations.
Crunch talks between Britain and Brussels over sausage imports have failed to make a breakthrough and European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic threatened to retaliate if Britain takes unilateral action to continue the flow of British-produced chilled meats to Northern Ireland.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that the protocol was the ‘one and only solution’ to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and that she still saw ‘fundamental gaps’ in Britain’s implementation of it.
The United States was said to have waded in and ‘strongly urged’ Britain to ‘stay cool’ and reach an agreement, even if that meant making ‘unpopular compromises’.
The report prompted a massive backlash from Tory backbenchers and the DUP leader Edwin Poots after the PM was accused of ‘inflaming tensions’ in Northern Ireland and threatening the peace process.
But a senior Biden administration official said: ‘This is wrong. First this discussion wasn’t directed by the president. It was not heightened. As with any ally we have diplomatic conversations about areas where we have concern at many levels.
‘Jake (Sullivan – US national security adviser) addressed the issue of Northern Ireland during his BBC interview and the message sent privately was exactly the same.’
The official later added that the president would not get ‘controversial or adversarial’ when he speaks to the PM about Northern Ireland.
‘He didn’t come here to give a lecture,’ they said.
‘He believes that the Good Friday agreement is the foundation for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland … the current discussions between the UK and EU should continue the vitality of Good Friday agreement.’
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