A body language expert has shared his thoughts on the nonverbal messages communicated by the GOP candidates who participated in Wednesday’s debate.

Politico reported that Joe Navarro, an FBI expert on body language, has provided a unique assessment of each of the eight GOP candidates

Navarro asserted that reading subtle body language is important in understanding the message that a person is conveying.

The New York Post posted Navarro’s assessment:

DeSantis: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 44, “looked almost angry.” Navarro noted that “his lips quivered …[and] his voice was forceful and lacked modulation, which made it hard for viewers to distinguish his most important points.”

Navarro observed that DeSantis rarely smiled, which likely hurt his “likeability” rating. The body language expert noted, “The one small grin DeSantis flashed at the end of the night could make a difference for on-the-fence supporters.

Ramaswamy: Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, smiled often and “consistently looked the most comfortable on stage,” Navarro said.

“Ramaswamy also made repeated use of what’s called a precision grip — with his index finger and thumb making an OK sign — which people use to show that they have command of a topic,” he added.

Haley: Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 51, “came to the Wisconsin stage in battle mode,” the body language expert said.

“She tensed her jaw as she spoke, demonstrative of her conviction. Her voice varied more than the other candidates, reflecting a range of nuanced feelings about the complex topics they discussed,” Navarro noted.

Navarro also called Haley’s clash with Ramaswamy over U.S. aid to Ukraine “revealed her strong will, her passion and her years of experience. …Her body language told her opponents that she is not to be trifled with.”

Hutchinson: Navarro said that former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, 72, was “genuinely friendly and approachable” on stage. However, his “easy smiles” and “unaggressive tones” did not lend themselves to the fireworks many viewers were looking for and thus, according to Navarro, likely limited his screen time, the expert speculated.

Burgum: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, 67, pulled a pocket-size copy of the U.S. Constitution from his pocket to emphasize his commitment to the rule of law and guarding the Constitution.

Navarro commended the “strong” gesture but assessed that Burgum was overshadowed by more aggressive and charismatic candidates.

Scott: Navarro observed that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s hand gestures were superior. “By using a cadence reminiscent of a church pastor, Scott pulled the audience in. He also made special use of wide, palm-up hand gestures, which communicate openness,” he said.


The body language expert observed that Scott, 57, communicated “emotional sincerity” and came “across as a strong yet approachable man with plenty of gravitas.”

Pence: Former Vice President Mike Pence, 64, has substantial political experience but “got off to a slow start,” according to Navarro.

“The former vice president was poised, but he started out slow, using small gestures and a relatively soft voice that made him appear subdued,” he added.

Navarro observed that Pence appeared more comfortable as the debate progressed. “His gestures became more vigorous, his voice changed in modulation and he used his eyebrows like punctuation marks,” Navarro said.

The most telling moment, according to Navarro, was when Pence’s “lip pulled dramatically to the left side of his face” as he discussed his defense of the Constitution after Jan. 6. This conveyed “just how emotional” the experience was, Navarro explained.

Christie: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 60, came to the debate ready to fight, Navarro said.

“His gestures were well measured, giving him a sense of calm, and he spoke in a modulated tone that commanded attention,” added Navarro. “Christie’s posture was confident and relaxed … and he “used his laser-like eyes” to his advantage.”

Navarro noted that as the debate progressed, Christie was “narrowing his eyelids to emphasize his message and arching his eyebrows to intensify his words.”

The body language expert also noted the difference between Ramaswamy and DeSantis when Fox News moderator Bret Baier asked if they would support former President Trump, 77, if he was convicted in any of his four criminal cases.

“Speed of response is often emblematic of how much we care about a subject,” Navarro said, noting that Ramaswamy’s hand was the first to go up, followed by Haley, Scott and Burgum.

Navarro noted that DeSantis and Christie were slow to move.

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