On Thursday, March 29, the president went to Ohio to drum up support for his infrastructure platform and brought along his two daughters. Tiffany, Ivanka, and Donald Trump's body language during the event apparently says a lot about the first family's relationships. I spoke with body language expert Dr. Lillian Glass about the dynamics between the father and his two daughters on Thursday and what their interactions reveal.
Ivanka, 36, has been the face of her father's presidency since before he took office. She was known for dutifully rallying for him on the campaign trail, and has since been regularly making the rounds on his behalf (last week, she visited a tech center in Iowa and played scientist for a day) — even filling in for him at high-level meetings as she serves as a senior adviser to the president.
Tiffany, meanwhile, has been largely out of the political spotlight while she attends school. The 24-year-old is a student at Georgetown Law, so while she's also living just blocks from her father's presidential mansion, she's very much in her own world. So the fact that the younger Trump daughter was present on Thursday at all is unusual, and certainly a dynamic change for the usual one-woman show that is Ivanka Trump.
Glass says that Tiffany seems out of her element both walking on the tarmac and greeting guests at the event. Despite Tiffany's attempts to act natural by putting her hands on guests' backs and smiling generously at them, it falls flat. "It is not reciprocated as people seem to ignore her and don't pay any attention to her as they do to her sister Ivanka," Glass says.
"Tiffany is so awkward and feels so uncomfortable, unlike her sister, who has a powerful walk — looks straight ahead with impeccable posture — while Tiffany shows insecure posture and body language as she hunches her shoulders and looks down," Glass adds.
Ivanka has built up a résumé of making appearances before and during her father's presidency, so it's understandable that she'd be more used to the protocols and dynamics of a meet-and-greet like this. That Ivanka and Tiffany appeared to be at completely different comfort levels isn't surprising. This same difference was apparent in their father's first State of The Union, for example, where they had very different experiences of that historic night.
But for more reasons than one, Thursday's Ohio trip was an especially awkward visit. After the handshaking ended, the mood didn't improve much during Trump's speech, in which Trump mentioned Ivanka and Tiffany in, shall we say, a lopsided way.
Motioning behind him from the podium, Trump said, "Speaking of a job well done, we have two of my daughters here today," Trump told the crowd in Ohio. (For the record: he only has two of them, as far as we know.) "Ivanka, who's working hard on infrastructure. Ivanka! And Tiffany!" That's it. (Nope, not, "And Tiffany, who's working hard at Georgetown Law." Just, "Tiffany.") Trump's remarks on his daughters, in the video above, occur around 41:40.
So if Tiffany had been feeling out of place leading up to the speech, it probably didn't help that Trump made only a passing mention of her while he praised her sister.
"It's obvious that [Donald's] negative feelings towards Tiffany's mother has leaked over to Tiffany, as she is clearly not his favorite," Glass says. "It seems he doesn't respect her as much as he does Ivanka." Ouch.
As Bustle notes, Trump has reportedly said Ivanka's name some eight times more often than he's said Tiffany's in public remarks, and he almost always mentions the eldest daughter first when he's mentioned them both at once.
The two daughters — yes, just those two — have had a curious relationship. It's clear that they share some genuine sisterly affection, as Glass noted in a previous article for Elite Daily, but that's certainly not all to the story. Another body language expert in an interview earlier this year described a phoniness to the sisters' camera-ready smiles — note the unforgettable Christmas Instagram post — and suggested that Tiffany's nonchalance was an annoyance to serious Ivanka. So the difference in how comfortable the two sisters were interacting with the guests — and Trump's feelings towards his daughters — may not come as a great surprise.