Trump WINKS at Putin ahead of their Helsinki summit

Trump may have winked at Putin but body language expert compares their entrance to prize fighters and says: There’s NO mutual admiration

  • President Trump met President Putin in Helsinki on Monday for their first summit 
  • Trump winked at his Russian counterpart as the men sat down for the cameras
  • Putin was pictured gripping the arm of his chair as Trump went for a handshake
  • Body language expert said there was ‘no sign of rapport’ between the two men 

Donald Trump greeted Vladimir Putin with a wink when the pair met for their first one-on-one summit in Helsinki on Monday. 

The body language between the two men was frosty as they sat down for the cameras save for one moment where Trump turned to Putin and winked – only to be met with no response from the Russian strongman.

Meanwhile a body language expert told Mail Online that two men appeared like prize-winning fighters read for a bout, showing ‘no rapport, affection or even admiration’ for each other.

Donald Trump winked at Vladimir Putin as the two men sat down in the ante-room of the Finnish Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of one-on-one talks

Putin remained stony-faced despite Trump’s attempt at levity as a body language expert revealed there was ‘no rapport or admiration’ between the two men

Judi James, an author and body language expert, said: ‘This summit between two alpha leaders looked for all the world like a prize fight after both men arrived late. 

‘Both Trump and Putin chest-puffed as they walked in and both men pulled their jackets around in a classic “prepping for a fight” gesture.

‘Sitting in the ante-room there was no rapport, affection or even admiration between them, especially from Putin who failed to use anything other than darting eye contact and didn’t smile even when Trump congratulated him about the World Cup.’


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Ms James also picked up on a moment when the two men began gesticulating about who should start speaking first, calling it an ‘open power-skirmish’.

While the moment was small, she believes it does not bode well for negotiations because it shows both men are combative an unwilling to step down.

The mix-up over who should speak could have been used as a moment for humour between friends, she noted, but instead only deepened the sense of tension.

She added: ‘Trump wore a mouth-clamp expression and a scowl for much of the meeting and sat in his signature “Trump slump” pose with his legs splayed and his fingers together in a downward steeple power pose. 

Another moment came as the two men jostled over who should speak first, described as an ‘open power-play’ between the pair, who looked like ‘prize fighters’ 

Putin also gripped the arm of his chair during the handshake with Trump, perhaps for support, or ‘in preparation for an early exit’

‘He began tapping his fingertips together as soon as the small pre-meeting conference began in a gesture of irritation and Putin replied in kind with several finger fiddle or scratching gestures to suggest matching irritation. 

‘Putin’s partial arm splay and upright pose looked calm but at one point he wound his spare hand round the strut of his chair as though keen to make an exit.’

That hand stayed gripping the side of the chair even as Putin went in for a handshake with Trump, perhaps providing stability during the shake.

Trump is known to use handshaking as an opportunity to assert dominance, often putting people around by their arm or twisting his wrist during the shake.

The body-language message could not have been more different from Trump’s pre-summit posturing, in which he said he would like to get along better with Russia and blamed the current state of relations on US ‘foolishness’.

Trump sat in his classic pose, slumped forward and with his hands in a ‘power steeple’ pose. Meanwhile Putin lounged in his chair in an attempt to appear relaxed

Body language expert Judi James said the men appeared agitated, pulled their jackets around as if preparing for a fight, and did not share any humorous moments

The US President said he hoped for an ‘extraordinary relationship’ with Moscow before leaning across a small table to shake hands with the Russian leader.

Trump said getting along with Russia would be a ‘good thing, not a bad thing’, in opening remarks in front of media while a sombre-looking Putin added: ‘The time has come to talk in a substantive way.’

After praising Russia’s hosting of the World Cup, Trump spoke of ‘great opportunities’ for Washington and Moscow – but admitted they have not been getting along for the past two years.

Trump and Putin are due to spend 90 minutes in one-on-one talks during which the US President said he plans to discuss nuclear issues, China and Trade.

Putin’s spokesman has said there is no set agenda for the meeting, and has remained vague about what topics he would like to raise.

Possible topics of discussion include western sanctions against Russia, rejoining the G7 – an idea Trump floated recently – and increasing numbers of NATO troops in eastern Europe.

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