According to a body language specialist, President Joe Biden gave Rishi Sunak, the prime minister of the UK, the impression of being dismissive when they first met at the Belfast airport the night before; a frosty awkwardness followed at a scheduled photoshoot.
PM Sunak received Biden on the tarmac at Belfast International Airport to kick off his tour to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. According to Judi James, a body language expert, Biden reportedly put a “hard, steering hand” on Mr. Sunak to brush him away.
James said Sunak waited on the wind-tossed tarmac to eagerly greet Biden as soon as his plane touched down, performing what is referred to as an ingratiating “act of inconvenience.” Ms. James said Mr. Sunak was disrespected by the president as he was ‘gently sidelined’ after Biden’s brief and awkward hello.
As he spoke to others, such as the US ambassador to the UK, Biden’s body language was friendly, effusive, and chatty. However, when Sunak seems to touch his arm to speak, Biden’s demeanor shifts, and his smile vanishes as he turns his head to listen.
James said Biden’s rituals of touch with Sunak appear to be “power-pats,” Biden even rests his hand on Sunak’s shoulder as though to draw closure to his discourse.”
A body language “announcement” that reflects the state of the relationship between the two countries and even the two leaders themselves, Ms. James explains, is the fundamental purpose of all leadership photoshoots.
Biden’s “announcement” reads like a proclamation of icy awkwardness. Despite the cozy and welcoming atmosphere of the tea shop, he seemed distant and uninterested in conversing with Rishi, yet he was glad to joke around with the photographers as Rishi sat tensely, pretending to drink tea from an empty cup.
According to Ms. James, this conversation was the “most significant moment” in illuminating the dynamic between Mr. Biden and Mr. Sunak.
‘Biden looked practically ignorant of Sunak’s existence.
In a speech today at Ulster University, Mr. Biden addressed allegations that he is “anti-British” by emphasizing his English heritage.