How Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump Look While Lying On Camera Is More Recognizable Than You May Realize
As we gear up for the third and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the need for fact-checking the claims made by both candidates has become ever greater. Amid the rush to uncover the merit (or lack thereof) in their statements, however, people overlooked their body language and facial expressions while telling the lies. So I've compiled a bunch of screenshots of Trump and Clinton's faces at the exact moments in which they uttered lies to see if there are any noticeable trends. As it turns out, Clinton and Trump give away when they're lying with some telling gestures and facial expressions. Maybe you can use this to your advantage on Oct. 19, during the third and final debate between the two. And who knows — by the end of it, you could be a lie-detecting expert.
My method was simple: Using the excellent fact-checking resources at Politifact, I identified the lies each candidate told, then went through footage to find the moments they made those comments. The results were interesting, but somewhat unsurprising. Trump often appeared smug and even betrayed a hint of self-knowledge when lying (in one instance, he even pursed his lips in an almost-smile), while Clinton often used hand gestures that seem aimed at getting the audience to agree with her — think about her moving her hands in a circular motion to "move along" her statements.
Below are some of Clinton and Trump's lies, in alternating order.
1. Clinton On "Fox News Sunday" On July 31, 2016
In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Clinton told a lie which Politifact ruled "pants on fire," claiming that FBI Director James Comey said her answers during the FBI investigation into her email scandal were "truthful." According to Politifact, this statement, made at 0:33 in the video linked above, is just patently untrue, and it appears that she knows it — she circles her fingers around each other multiple times, as if to move the point along and get Wallace (and those watching at home) to believe her.
2. Trump On His "Small Loan" From His Dad
Around 12:22 of the NBC recording of the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Trump claims that his dad gave him "a very small loan" in 1975. The loan might have been "small" by Trump's standards, but it was for a million dollars, which to most of us is huge. During this lie, Trump seems as arrogant as ever, as if he were discussing a $500 loan.
3. Clinton On Trump Not Paying Taxes
Just at the 39:00 minute mark, Clinton raises her left shoulder slightly when making the bold (and false) assertion that Trump doesn't pay federal taxes. Strangely enough, Trump didn't refute the lie, instead opting to quip that not paying taxes makes him smart. On Sept. 26, we still hadn't seen Trump's tax returns, which now seem to indicate that Trump could have avoided paying taxes on specific occasions. Unless Clinton had a tip-off on The New York Times' plans to publish Trump's leaked tax records, she couldn't have known this.
4. Trump And The Climate Change "Hoax"
At 16:56, Trump purses his lips and raises his eyebrows just before lying about his past statements calling climate change a "hoax." As recently as January of this year, Trump expressed his disbelief in the phenomenon, making this one of his more egregious lies about his own record.
5. Clinton At The "Line In The Sand"
At the 1:01:40 mark during the second debate on Oct. 9, Clinton makes a circular motion with her hand, another of her "moving along" techniques, when contesting Trump's statement that she was secretary of state when the so-called "line in the sand" was crossed by Syrian president Bashir al-Assad in 2013. This is half false — she was secretary when President Obama drew the "red line" regarding chemical warfare in Syria in 2012, but she had stepped down from the office by the time it was revealed in 2013 that Assad had crossed it.
6. Trump's Sidney Blumenthal Lie
At the 1:00:48 mark during the first debate, Trump makes a hand gesture often used to convince people to believe or trust a speaker when he once again brings up Sidney Blumenthal. Trump (falsely) claims that Blumenthal, a former aide during Bill Clinton's presidency and a friend of the family, began (on Hillary's behalf) the rumor that President Obama was born in Kenya, thus giving birth to the "birther" movement Trump himself championed for so long. This was neither the first nor the last time Trump invoked Blumenthal to criticize Clinton.
7. Clinton's Assertion About "Energy Independence"
At 1:24:46 in the debate, Clinton uses a hand-waving gesture when she makes the bold — and false — claim that the U.S. has attained energy independence from Middle Eastern oil. No matter how you slice it, this just isn't true, and in fact, oil imports in America have risen in 2016 from the 9.4 million barrels of crude oil we imported in 2015.
8. Trump's "Hillary Attacked Bill's Victims" Fib
Right at the beginning of the second debate, at 13:31, Trump waves his hand when lying that Clinton supposedly viciously attacked her husband's alleged sexual assault victims — a lie used to divert attention from Bill's "actual" alleged sexual assaults and away from Trump's so-called "locker room talk." Allegations against Trump, however, have begun rolling in since the 2005 hot mic tape was released and Trump has denied each claim.
After looking at the faces and gestures both Trump and Clinton make when telling lies on camera, I've come to some conclusions about their public personas. First, Trump is much more brash in his lies. Clinton, on the other hand, wants to convince the public that she's telling the truth. Secondly, Trump's lies are much, much more dangerous than Clinton's. Unfortunately, lying is part of the political circus, but that doesn't mean all lies are created equal. While one candidate's lies are purely political, the other's are an attempt to rewrite his own seemingly lurid history. Hopefully, the final debate is one of the last times viewers will have to discern truth from fiction.
Images: Fox News; NBC News (7)