A big hand for Beto O'Rourke and his amazing waving arms

A big hand for Beto O'Rourke and his amazing waving armsThe Democratic 2020 presidential candidate has already made a big impression – with his meme-worthy hand movements Beto O’Rourke addresses supporters in Iowa. ‘I’ve never seen so much hand movement,’ said Donald Trump. Photograph: Stephen Maturen/AFP/Getty Images Beto O’Rourke’s freshly announced 2020 White House run has been dismissed as vainglorious by some, but it generated significant excitement among others attracted by media hype and his undoubted charisma. None of that excitement, however, came near matching the candidate’s own. When the former Texas congressman laid out his vision at a coffee shop in Iowa, what he said wasn’t anywhere near as memorable as the way he said it. Standing on a counter, removing pieces of clothing and constantly gesticulating, O’Rourke’s hand movements were seized upon as remarkable if not downright odd and immediately headed into internet-meme territory. “I think he’s got a lot of hand movement,” Donald Trump told reporters after news of O’Rourke’s 2020 bid broke. “I’ve never seen so much hand movement. I said, ‘Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?’” Sensing the low-hanging fruit in O’Rourke’s chopping, pointing and waving, late-night hosts ran with it on Thursday night. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Trump is right,” Trevor Noah joked on the Daily Show. On the Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon played an exaggerated version of O’Rourke, mocking his announcement video in which he gestured broadly while his wife tried in vain to hold on to his arm. “I’m like if your friend’s hot dad had the energy of a golden retriever,” he joked. Body language experts say emphatic gesturing can help a speaker convey a message and help audiences receive it. An analysis of thousands of hours of TED talks found that the more popular lectures were given by speakers who used hand gestures twice as much as the least popular ones. As with much else about O’Rourke, it’s hard to say if his manner of speaking is born out of sincere enthusiasm or if he’s been made aware of studies like that and is attempting to work it into the packaging of himself as a candidate. Asked on Thursday to respond to Trump’s comments on his hand movements, O’Rourke declined. “I have nothing to say to that,” he told CNN. “I think people want us to rise above the pettiness, the smallness.”

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