The Trump family has seen its ups and downs over the past year, especially as the Russia investigation has escalated into criminal charges. While the First Family has always drawn a lot of public attention, Trump's eldest daughter and her husband have been swept up in it all, considering their official staff positions at the White House. But through the thick and thin of it, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's body language indicates that the couple seems to have a strong relationship, experts say, though they choose to portray a more restrained public image.
Ivanka and Kushner appear to have a solid and affectionate marriage, but are restrained when it comes to showing this affection in public. Dr. Nick Morgan, an expert in non-verbal communication, tells Bustle that Ivanka and Kushner have seemingly chosen to adopt a more poised look in public, something which may be due to a desire to protect their family from scrutiny:
"What we see in public settings, it’s a poised and artificial look," Morgan says. "For whatever reason, their decision is to look stiff. I think they’re trying to protect themselves. The father and father-in-law have a hostile relationship with the press. But nothing so far that suggests anything other than a happy marriage."
Tonya Reiman, an author and body language expert, agrees with Morgan's assessment that Kushner and Ivanka seem happy with each other but hold back in public. But Reiman believes that this restraint is not necessarily a negative characterization, considering the professional role the couple plays in the Trump administration.
"I would say, you see that he is happy with her."
"He and Ivanka look like a typically happy couple," Reiman says. "They don’t need to be more affectionate because they’re not first lady and president. As long as they look united, they look good. Showing too much is not professional. It’s the president you want to see in an affectionate and cohesive relationship."
However, despite their public restraint, experts also say that, in more spontaneous moments, Ivanka and Kushner show a lighter side to their personalities. For example, multiple experts referenced a CBS This Morning interview clip in which Kushner unexpectedly dropped into an interview Ivanka was doing with the hosts. Ruth Sherman, a renowned public speaking coach, noted that "Jared walked into the room, and we see another side of her. You get the sense from Ivanka that she could have a sense of humor."
Reiman added that the unguarded moment in the interview showed the strength of the couple's relationship, saying, "They don’t talk over one another. When he walked in on her there was a good feeling, jovial ... They complement each other."
Morgan also pointed out that that same moment showed that Kushner can appear shy during unscripted events, saying that when Kushner accidentally walked into the interview, "He crossed his arms and shrunk back, a real and natural aversion to wanting to be on television. Every other moment, it was all about the poise. This was real body language."
Patti Wood, a body language expert, also agrees that Kushner and Ivanka appear more laid-back in less-scripted moments, describing a candid photo of the two to highlight her point.
"They’re having a moment when they’re laughing," Wood says. "And they’re holding hands while walking. She still wants to be a step ahead, but I like it because there’s a little goofiness in his smile. It’s not a pasted-on smile. I would say, you see that he is happy with her."
The experts all seem to concur that, while the couple complement each other, Ivanka is the more refined and assertive member of the pair. As Reiman noted, "Ivanka is the more dominant of the two." She also added that Kushner seems "shyer" than his wife, reflecting Morgan's earlier assessments.
According to the body language experts, Trump and Melania's body language has changed a lot since he was elected president. And the rest of the Trump presidency goes on, Ivanka and Kushner are surely going to be seeing even more tough times, if the first year was any indication. But according to these experts, despite what you might think, they seem in it for the long haul.
Additional reporting by Priscilla Totiyapungprasert.