What Biden’s body language revealed at the first debate, according to an expert

As famed rapper Biggie Smalls once waxed poetic, “It was all a dream.” And, like so many others, we wish that were true. Unfortunately, the first 2020 presidential debate was not a bad dream, but rather a metaphorical moving car crash of epic proportions. (Cue the cacophony of emotional hangovers everywhere the morning after the dreadful debate.) Yet, while neither man was particularly innocent when it came to the elementary school hijinks that ensued, we can’t imagine what it must have felt like to be sparring back and forth with President Donald Trump.

That’s where body language expert Dr. Renee Carr comes in. Luckily for us, Carr was willing to give us her take on what former vice president Joe Biden was feeling all by observing his body language. So exactly what was the Democratic presidential nominee signaling to viewers at home with his nonverbal communication? Keep reading after the jump to find out!

Joe Biden was ready for a fight

Dr. Renee Carr, psychologist and political advisor, told Nicki Swift that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was ready for a run-of-the-mill debate, one similar to those he’s done countless times before in his decades-long career as a politician. But, as they say, “We make plans and God laughs.” And that he did.

Carr focused first on Biden’s attire for the evening: his black and white striped tie, his white pocket square — usually reserved for formal events — and even the way he first approached the podium. Carr posited that Biden was prepared to conduct himself appropriately. As far as the evenly striped necktie goes, Carr revealed that this was no mistake on Biden’s part. “Biden chose a black and white tie that was evenly striped. Such a choice reveals Biden’s intent to provide debate responses based upon his long-held beliefs about what is either black or white — OR, in other words, wrong or right.” And the formality of the white pocket square “denotes that he approached the debate with President Trump as an event that was to be respected and with adhered-to formalities.” Yeah, about that…

But, perhaps the most notable factor was the way in which Biden carried himself to the podium. Carr explained that “Biden approached the podium with his fists in front of him as if he were ready for a fight,” and boy, was he ever. DING, DING, DING.

Joe Biden had a plan going into the debate

Per Dr. Renee Carr, during the beginning stages of the debate, Joe Biden appeared to have a planned strategy to “deliberately ignore” President Donald Trump and, instead, fix his gaze only on the moderator, Chris Wallace. “This move appeared to be a strategic attempt to trigger an emotional reaction from President Trump and, therefore, cause Trump to have less focus on logic-based replies,” Carr explained. Unfortunately, Biden wasn’t able to keep up that game for long. Carr noted that once Biden realized the strategy was working in his favor, “he finally turns to Trump and smiles as if he is being entertained.”

But not so fast. Once Trump went on the defense, Biden appeared to be outwardly shocked. “President Trump’s response was more than what Biden expected, in that Biden soon began to look on in disbelief, his mouth open and his eyes staring at Trump,” Carr said. Once Trump started interrupting him, Biden’s cool, calm, and collected demeanor quickly evaporated into thin air.

Joe Biden's face said it all

Once the gloves came off and both men lost their composure, it was hard not to note the frustration on each of their faces — especially Joe Biden. According to Dr. Renee Carr, while President Donald Trump relied on his hands to do the talking with wild gestures, Biden used facial expressions to communicate his disdain for the situation. “Biden maintained raised eyebrows to emphasize [concern about overturning] Roe v. Wade and healthcare loss to non-verbally emphasize his statements regarding the effect on voters when considering the timing of making a SCOTUS selection,” Carr pointed out.

Carr also noted the way Biden kept pivoting back to the camera in an effort to refocus his gaze. “Biden’s preferred approach was looking into the camera to make ‘eye contact’ with the viewing audience with the intent of making an emotional and direct connection with voters.” Whether or not that worked remains to be seen, we suppose. Here’s hoping the second 2020 presidential debate runs much smoother than the first. As for Chris Wallace, we wouldn’t blame him if he never moderated another debate ever again.

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