On Tuesday, Biden arrived at Belfast International Airport to kick off the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, also known as the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement. The United Kingdom Prime Minister was on the tarmac to greet Biden as soon as he touched down, however, it appeared that Biden brushed him off, perhaps not even realizing who he was at first.

Judi James, an expert in communication and body language, examined the awkward body language Biden and Sunak at the Belfast airport. According to James, Biden appeared “dismissive” towards Sunak.

Sunak was waiting to greet Biden on the tarmac, which James called an “ingratiating act of inconvenience.” She explained to the Daily Mail that the “ritual is a statement of respect that Biden would understand perfectly: the higher the rank of his own guests the further outside the White House he emerges to wait to greet them.”

However, in video footage of Biden’s arrival, he appears to only briefly acknowledge Sunak, brushing him aside to greet others. As James put it, Sunak was “gently sidelined.”

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“…the compliment seemed to get brushed to one side, along with the PM. Did Biden even recognize Sunak?” James wondered.

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“Was it because he looked different wearing his glasses?” she supposed. “Because the hard, steering hand Biden seemed to place on Rishi’s arm appeared to push him firmly out of the way for Biden to greet and throw a smiling salute at a man in uniform.”

James described Sunak, in that moment, as “the guest that can’t quite break into the main group at a party.”

“Biden’s body language was warm, effusive, and chatty with people like the U.S. ambassador to the UK, but when Sunak seems to touch his arm to speak, Biden’s expression changes, and his smile drops as he turns his head to listen.”

“Biden’s touch rituals with Sunak look more like power-pats and at the end, he even places a hand on his shoulder as though to draw a close to his conversation,” James observed.

On Wednesday morning, the awkward interactions between the two continued during tea at a hotel in Belfast, where the two sat for photographs.

“All leadership photoshoots are manufactured but the main aim is to create a body language announcement signal that shows the rest of the world the state of the relationship between the two countries and even the two leaders themselves,” said James, dissecting the body language of the meeting.

“This ‘announcement’ from Biden then, seemed to be a declaration of frosty awkwardness. He looked detached, with no smile, eye contact, touch, or exchanged chatter for Rishi despite the rather quaint and presumably friendly tea-room setting,” James added.

The body language expert pointed out how Biden was noticeably more friendly and chatty with the photographers than with the PM.

“His mind looked as empty as the plates and cups on the table, although he was happy to indulge in some good-natured banter with the photographers while Rishi sat nervously pretending to sip invisible tea from an empty cup,” said James.

Biden not only seemed to ignore the PM sitting next to him, but he also did not answer any questions from reporters. After the photos, Biden’s staff quickly ushered the press out of the room, even though Biden said “I’m going to listen.”

“The real test of a world leadership relationship tends to come during the last, telling few moments of these staged photo-calls when the photographers have been told to leave,” James said. “As they were ushered away here there was not one glance, word, or connection between Biden and Sunak despite the fact they could at that point drop the fake smiles and relax a bit.”

James suggested that Biden “looked almost oblivious of Sunak’s existence” as he crossed his legs “away from Sunak in a gesture of subliminal rejection.”

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