For some time, it was unclear whether or not US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech was going to happen at all this February. Following the longest US government shutdown in history, there were concerns that the traditional address would be rearranged at a later date. However, the speech – known colloquially as the SOTU – took place this week. While the President himself should have been the center of attention, it seems his current rival – Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi – perhaps created a little more buzz online.
Trump spoke of wishing to ‘reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good’. He has backed up his speech and his words by eluding to further details on his next summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, with the leaders who ‘fell in love’ (according to Trump) last year expected to hold a 2019 address soon. Pelosi, however, who has remained the President’s chief opponent during debates over funding for his border wall, appeared to be offering subtle hints at her opinion during the SOTU.
According to The Guardian, a number of snapshot moments from Pelosi – sat behind Trump - have started to circulate online, with the Speaker appearing to read papers during Trump’s speech and reportedly offering occasional eye rolls. The moment that took most attention, however, was the Speaker’s applause at the end of his ‘politics of revenge’ speech as above. Pelosi chose to stand up and clap with her arms outstretched towards the President, which many have read to be a fairly sarcastic stance. Thanks to the magic of the internet, of course, the ‘Pelosi Clap’ has become February’s latest meme.
Nancy Pelosi's Sarcasm-Doused Clap Is the Meme You Never Knew You Needed [video]
Democrats in Congress have continued to fight back against Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion to fund his proposed border wall with Mexico. The US government headed into partial shutdown for 35 days, a record-breaking stretch which put many livelihoods at stake and even ongoing US criminal investigations and medical procedures on hold. The country is currently in the middle of an agreed three-week pause – though Trump has continued to suggest that he may call a State of Emergency, which will divert funds from important governmental sources so that his wall can be funded. Pelosi and the Democrats, meanwhile, remain steadfast – are we headed for another shutdown, or an SOE?