The bully's pulpit : the bodily rhetoric of President Trump's diplomatic handshakes.


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President Donald Trump’s administration has revealed ideological fault lines and rapidly transforming power-balances underlying U.S. diplomacy. This thesis examines Trump’s handshakes as rhetorical gestures that constitute discursive investments in populist and nationalist ideology. Before investigating Trump’s handshakes with hostile foreign actors and allied diplomats, I establish a rhetorical framework for examining the metaphoric and tropic elements of gesture at play in Ronald Reagan’s “Speech at the Brandenburg Gate.” In doing so I argue that the handshake as a metaphor contributes to a materialist understanding of Cold War metaphors and body rhetoric.



Donald Trump. Rhetorical Criticism. Gesture. Body Rhetoric. Materialism. Presidential Rhetoric.