When the cameras turn on and the House and Senate convene for the annual State of the Union address, a viral moment is inevitable — and Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered that on Tuesday.
The moment came as President Donald Trump offered a call for bipartisanship. With such a clear distinction between the president’s own words and the prepared remarks he read from the teleprompter, many viewers perceived Pelosi’s response as sarcastic.
“But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good,” Trump said.
To that, Pelosi rose and seemingly clapped at, but not for, Donald Trump.
Watch the video below:
— Brian Koerber (@bkurbs) February 6, 2019
The cameras in the chamber only aired a brief snippet of Pelosi’s applause before breaking to show reactions from members throughout the chamber. A stone-faced Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can be seen sitting still as other Democratic members rise and applaud.
But photographs of Pelosi’s clap quickly emerged, and they were instant viral fodder for social media.
“Nancy Pelosi is the perfect amount of petty we all should aspire to have,” one Twitter user wrote.
Nancy Pelosi is the perfect amount of petty we all should aspire to have. pic.twitter.com/byyGXK9Roa
— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) February 6, 2019
The moment also inspired musical jokes from “Baby Shark” to Ariana Grande:
Mommy shark doodoodoodoodoodoo ? pic.twitter.com/m5R93GKR2E
— Zara Rahim (@zara915) February 6, 2019
Thank u, next pic.twitter.com/opvIcdLnW6
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) February 6, 2019
Pelosi’s clap, combined with Trump’s turn towards her, was the perfect format for a new meme:
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) February 6, 2019
“Who knew clapping could convey rage, disdain and threats of revenge,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts tweeted.
Who knew clapping could convey rage, disdain and threats of revenge… pic.twitter.com/u9c4lXM4ri
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 6, 2019
Some of Pelosi’s fans believed she was sending a message to Trump through her manner of applause:
Nancy Pelosi, Queen of Condescending Applause. pic.twitter.com/kgsb0uQNT9
— Hillary Warned Us (@HillaryWarnedUs) February 6, 2019
— BG From the Bottom of the Map (@GhostFaceSigma) February 6, 2019
Even Pelosi’s daughter got in on the fun, writing that the clap reminded her of her childhood.
#waybackwednesday – oh yes that clap took me back to the teen years. She knows. And she knows that you know. And frankly she’s disappointed that you thought this would work. But here’s a clap. #youtriedit pic.twitter.com/vUCX2uAUvv
— Christine Pelosi (@sfpelosi) February 6, 2019
“She knows. And she knows that you know,” Christine Pelosi tweeted. “And frankly she’s disappointed that you thought this would work.”