Bill McGowan, a communications coach and chief executive of Clarity Media Group, calls the hand-on-heart motion “the gesture du jour.” He said he has noticed that other politicians have adopted the habit...It's not just Hillary:
Chelsea Clinton used the gesture when she introduced her mother at the convention. Michelle Obama put her hand on her heart multiple times when she mentioned her daughters. Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim United States soldier killed in combat, did the same when the crowd applauded his son’s sacrifice.There's a theory that it started in Canada:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada may have inspired the trend: He put his hand to his heart so humbly and so often before cheering audiences during his campaign last year, it became almost a trademark.It worked for him, and he's dreamy, so why not the whole party of dreams — the Democrats?
There is no way to pinpoint how or when the motion gained currency. When Angelina Jolie received a humanitarian award at the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2011, she put her hand on her heart several times to show how moved she was by the honor...I associate it with Al Gore, conceding the election in late 2000. He was at his best that day, and the hand on the heart was part of the overall poignancy of the acceptance of loss. I can't find video or still photos of this, but he'd delivered an excellent concession speech and, greeted by crowds as he walked to his car, he patted his hand over his heart.
At the time, as I remember, the gesture was a way to acknowledge affection, to say, "You've touched my heart," which seems to be what Justin Trudeau is described as doing.
In a less honest-seeming person, it may come across as more of a clumsy effort at saying: I do indeed have a heart. Like the way one might point at one's head as a way to comically say: See? I'm thinking! I have a brain!
Meanwhile, Hillary, confronted with her 4-Pinocchio's lie about what the FBI director said about her email problem, said: "So I may have short circuited." Like she's a robot.