Body Language Expert Tells Us Trump Used Rally To Gloat Over Debate Absence

While the political world was glued to the second Republican presidential primary debate in California, Donald Trump was busy commanding a different stage. Bypassing the debate entirely, the controversial politician addressed a raving crowd in Detroit packed with supporters. Trump's choice to skip the debate and hold a rally in Clinton Township's Drake Enterprises instead was a strategic move that drew the attention of supporters, detractors, and curious onlookers alike. But, what message did he aim to convey with this bold choice? 

We consulted Jess Ponce III, a renowned body language expert, communication coach, and author of "A.W.E.S.O.M.E," for an exclusive deep dive into the former president's telling mannerisms during the event. "Trump loves a good campaign rally, and tonight was no different," observed Ponce. "As he took the stage, he paused for a moment to soak it all in." It was indeed evident that the presidential hopeful was reveling in the spotlight. As he gazed around the room, mouthing "thank you," the short pause spoke volumes about Trump's mindset.

Trump was 'gloating' despite recently being found liable for fraud

Although Donald Trump was found liable for fraud on September 26, 2023, his body language made him appear unfazed. According to Ponce, "There is no visible sign in his expressions or mannerisms that he is affected by the fraud charges from just one day ago. In fact, it is quite the opposite: He has resolve in his posture and most likely his decision to speak tonight. Even if he was nervous, he would never willingly show it — he would do his best to cover it." Further, Trump had a light-hearted aura around him as he addressed the crowd. 

The campaign trail can often be a grind, but during this latest appearance, we witnessed a version of Trump that's been absent for some time. Ponce continued, "He was dancing. He had an almost jovial gait as he walked by the crowd after his address. This is quite different than the less-than-enthusiastic appearances from his competitors tonight during the GOP debate."

Trump's moves were not those of a man burdened by the weight of ongoing criminal proceedings. Contrasting his energetic presence in Detroit with the comparatively subdued GOP debate, Ponce noted, "Trump continues to play the game on his terms, and it seems to be working for him. He showed up better here, in his own setting, than he would have on the debate stage. Some might even say he was gloating."

Trump's bold absence: Clever or clueless?

While political pundits might debate the wisdom of Donald Trump's decision to skip a major public appearance, from a body language perspective, he seemed to thrive outside the strict constraints of the debate stage. Trump's confident, almost jubilant, demeanor in Detroit suggests he's most comfortable surrounded by crowds who swallow his words hook, line, and sinker.

When the United Auto Workers (UAW) decided to strike after failing to reach an agreement with major automakers, Trump criticized their leadership and even suggested that they should endorse him (via X, formerly known as Twitter). UAW President Shawn Fain responded that it would be counterproductive to continue electing out-of-touch billionaires who don't understand the struggles of the working class in the first place, as reported by CNN.

The Trump campaign also began running a radio ad targeting auto workers in Detroit and Toledo, which positions the former president as being on their side. And yet, considering everything we know about Trump's 2024 campaign and the fact he continues to do well in the polls, particularly among his core base, staging his own rally may have been a real stroke of genius in the long run.