The tension between President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris was communicated subtly through their awkward interactions at the White House joint engagement yesterday amid claims of a rift. 

Biden and Harris put on a determined show of unity, strode onto the South Lawn wearing wide smiles and before signing a trillion dollar infrastructure bill in front 800 guests.

It came hours after a string of insiders told CNN Biden was distancing himself from Harris because of her sliding poll numbers, while the VP felt isolated. The White House last night dismissed the claims, with Mr Biden’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, saying Ms Harris was a ‘vital partner’ to the President.

However, a closer look at their interactions reveals a degree of disease. According to Darren Stanton, a UK body language expert, Harris looked like she was going to a family event that she did not want to attend.  

Stanton revealed that Harris’ smile was fake and forced in an interview with FEMAIL. The smile does not have crows feet on the sides of her faces, so we can tell if it is real. This smile was created for perception and press purposes.

Judi James, a body language expert and author, agreed that their gestures are an example of “political power jostling”. 

She pointed out a particularly awkward moment in which Biden wrapped his arm around Harris as they crossed the lawn, a gesture called a “power pat”. Although it was intended to convey a sense of familiarity, the effect had the reverse. 

Ms James said that the pair looked awkward when they were walking together toward the media. The ritual does not look natural or relaxed because there are no indications of empathy or reciprocal affection.  


KAMALA HARRIS' FORCED SMILE: The Vice President plastered a wide smile on her face as she and Joe Biden strode out onto the South Lawn for yesterday's engagement, but a closer look at her eyes reveals it was all put on for the cameras, according to body language expert Darren Stanton. The President also raises his left arm to create a 'barrier' between them, it is claimed

KAMALA HARRIS’ FORCED SMILE : As Joe Biden and Vice President walked onto the South Lawn, the vice president smiled wide as they walked. However, Darren Stanton, a body-language expert, said that the smiling face was only for cameras. According to some reports, the President raised his left arm in order to create a “barrier” between them.

Harris and Biden left side-by-side. But a close look at Harris’ behavior reveals a division. 

Ms James stated that Biden needs to adjust his body in order to let her walk ahead of his. His left arm is kept up as a barrier while he does this.

“If she or he were to recognize her, this might look old-fashioned. But there’s no such thing.

Noting Harris’s forced smile, Mr Stanton added: ‘This I call the typical cheese photograph it’s the kind of photograph that you pose for at a wedding or some other family event you don’t want to be at.’


BIDEN'S 'EMPTY' EMBRACE OF THE AUDIENCE: Making his way across the lawn, the President raised both arms up in an 'empty' embrace, Ms James noted, at the same time as Harris veered away from him and towards their guest. In this moment, the Vice President's controlled gesture makes her look more 'Presidential' than Biden, Ms James suggested

BIDEN’S EMPTY EMBRACE TO THE AUDIENCE: As he walked across the lawn, Mr. President lifted his arms in an ’empty” embrace. Ms. James observed that Harris was moving away from Harris and toward their guest. This moment makes the Vice President look more presidential than Biden.

‘It’s quite an odd posture to stand there with your hands to the side like Biden is,’ noted Mr Stanton. While most people are more comfortable with their hands facing forward, this gesture seems very odd and unlikely to make a difference. 

Harris and Biden are often very tactile men. They touch their arms and shoulders frequently. [at moments like this]This is an example of deep relationships. It appears as though Biden almost got told not to. 

“His physical contact with him has decreased, which could indicate a break in their relationship and deep bond. After eleven months, cracks begin to emerge between their unity.

Ms. James claimed that Harris appears more presidential than Biden because she is walking’straight to the press’ with her arms at her sides, while President Obama is focusing on his empty embrace of this audience’. 

“She then walks away from Biden and talks to the woman to her left,” Ms James said. Harris’s move away from Biden makes Harris look quite ignored, when she would expect her to pay attention to the President.


THE 'POWER PAT': Biden and Harris' body language signaled 'power jostling' as they struggled for attention, according to Ms James. In one notable moment, President Biden reached his hand across Harris' back in a gesture known as a 'power pat'

THE POWER PAT: According to Ms James, the body language of Harris and Biden signaled that they were ‘power jostling. A ‘power pat’ is a sign of President Biden’s hand reaching across Harris’ back.

HARRIS IS UNCOMFORTABLE: Both body language experts noted Harris did not return Biden's spontaneous gesture and appeared to be 'surprised and uncomfortable'. The lack of a reciprocal gesture makes this looks forced and put-on

HARRIS IS DISCOMFORTABLE. According to both body language experts, Harris appeared to be surprised and uneasy and did not respond to Biden’s spontaneous gesture. It looks forced and placed-on because Harris did not reciprocate Biden’s gesture.

Biden placed his arm on Harris’ shoulder as they moved across the grass. As Harris walks towards the rostrum looking more like a “Veep”, this time Biden powers-pats Harris, Ms James observed. 

“She reciprocates the gesture, and they look awkward walking together toward the media. The ritual does not appear relaxed or natural because there are no indications of empathy or reciprocal affection.

Stanton also agreed that there is an obvious disconnect between them at this time, and stated: “Biden adopts a very genuine smile. It is clear that Biden is fully engaged in his conversation and there are a lot of crows feet to the sides of his eyes. This is a sign of genuine happiness.

“Harris has a mixture of feeling uncomfortable and being surprised. While she reciprocates the gesture with Biden by holding her hand, it appears that Harris’ hand is inappropriately placed in this photo. Harris could be making a strange gesture.


BIDEN STEALS THE LIMELIGHT: While Vice President Harris was speaking, Biden was busy gesturing and talking, in the body language equivalent of 'talking over someone', according to body language expert Judi James. Meanwhile Harris failed to match her body language to her unequivocal words of support for Biden, and instead looked 'grim-faced' during her speech

BIDEN STEALS the LIMELIGHT. While Harris spoke, Biden was gesturing and speaking in body language. According to Judi James, Biden was talking while Harris was speaking. Harris, on the other hand, did not match Harris’ body language with her unambiguous support for Biden and looked instead ‘grim-faced during her speech

Harris showered Biden with praise in her speech, saying: ‘From the very start you welcomed Democrats, independents and Republicans to meet with us in the Oval Office. Your ideas were welcomed. Before Biden signed the bill, Harris said that he welcomed the debate.

‘And here’s what I know is true, Mr. president, you are equal parts builder/believer. Because you are, all of us are better off. We thank you, Mr. President.’  

Ms James pointed out that Biden wasn’t focused on her words and instead used his body language as a way to grab attention.  

The expert said that he was talking and pointing and it is the equivalent to talking over her or ignoring her messages. 

Harris may not have understood what she was saying, she stated. Harris’s message to Biden does not involve backward glances. She is grimaced and frowning as she honors Biden.


A DELAYED SMILE FROM HARRIS: When Harris finished Biden clapped and pushed his hand out in an intentional gesture to shake hands, Ms James noted. Harris missed a beat before arranging her face in a wide smile, as seen in the photo above

MISS JAMES SUSPECTS A DELATED SMILE COMING FROM HARRIS. Harris had just finished his speech when he clapped and extended his hand to shake hands. Harris didn’t miss a beat, before placing her smile wide across her face as shown in the above photo.

PULLED IN FOR A HUG: Biden then pulled the Vice President for a hug ahead of his address. But the intimacy was not reciprocated by Harris. 'She responds with a distracted ritual, turning her head to look down and away,' Ms James noted

PULLED IN FOR A HUG: Biden then pulled the Vice President for a hug ahead of his address. Harris did not respond to the intimacies. “She responded by turning her head and looking down, ‘Ms James observed. 

A QUICK 'BACK PAT': Harris signaled to Biden that she wanted the embrace to end by raising her hand for a 'back pat'. 'Quick pats like this are a signal to end a hug or embrace, making this a cursory and one-sided gesture of affection,' Ms James said

A QUICK “BACK PAT”: Harris indicated that she was ready for the hug to come to an end by raising her right hand to Biden to give her a ‘back pat. “Quick pats of this nature are an indication to end a hug/embrace, making it a cursory gesture of affection.

A CHILLIER EMBRACE: Mr Stanton pointed out the exchange is a far cry from the genuine displays of warmth seen earlier this year. He said the 'partial hug', as seen by one hand remaining in a handshake position, shows a diminished rapport

A CHILLIER EMBRACE: Mr Stanton pointed out the exchange is a far cry from the genuine displays of warmth seen earlier this year. Stanton said that the “partial hug”, as one hand remains in a handshake, indicates a decreased rapport

Ms James explained that Biden, after Harris has finished, claps and raises his hand in an intention gesture to shake hands. “Her smile begins as a tongue-ruin that recognizes the lack of bonding. It is only a matter of seconds before she opens her mouth to smile.

Biden hugged the Vice President before giving his speech. Harris did not respond to the hug. 

Ms James observed that she responded with a distraction ritual. She turned her head so that it looked down, and as they hugged, rather than celebrating and focusing on the moment. 

“Her left hand has been held out and extended in an intentional gesture. This time, it’s to make two quick pats on her arm. This is a quick gesture to signal the end of a hug, or embrace.

The elusive Harris disappears quickly from our view. It’s only when Biden is sitting signing that we see her return to join him and here she looks like an afterthought, having to push her way through the group to get to his side.’

Stanton said that this exchange is far removed from the real displays of warmth seen earlier in the year. 

‘In Previous footage shows them both being very tactile. This is only a partial hug, which indicates that Harris may not be as comfortable with Biden being in close proximity. I don’t feel Harris and Biden have the same level of rapport that they once had.’

He added: ‘It is going to be very interesting to see how this reflects in the coming weeks and months from a political point of view.’