In a Few Seconds of Applause, Pelosi Dished 'Acres of Shade'

The tweets came fast and furious
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2019 8:47 AM CST

It was the applause heard round the world, except it was the sight, not the volume, of Nancy Pelosi clapping during President Trump's State of the Union address that has captivated the internet. As the president spoke out against "the politics of revenge," the House speaker rose and clapped with arms outstretched. Trump turned to her as she continued, and she acknowledged him with pursed lips. Cue the memes and Twitter commentary—the Washington Post notes the clap had been mentioned in 220,000 tweets by Tuesday morning. Her gesture is being described as everything from a "golf clap" to a "walrus clap" to how a wife reacts when her husband finally changes a diaper. Or, as Slate writer Christina Cauterucci put it, "Nancy Pelosi distracts out-of-control toddler with rendition of 'Baby Shark.'"

"In the image ... the internet saw acres of shade dispensed by a skilled politician firmly in control," writes Yonette Joseph for the New York Times. "But it was the speaker's fleeting 'bless your heart' expression as Mr. Trump looks back at her, as if for approval, that is perhaps best appreciated in video footage.'" The clapping's "power was in its restraint," writes Monica Hesse for the Washington Post. "Pelosi was not booing the president. She was acknowledging his words. She was providing him, in the technical sense, with exactly what he was hoping for: approval. But this was a derogatory clap, make no mistake. This was mockery wearing a half-baked costume of politeness. ... Often, she was—and you may love this about her behavior, or absolutely detest it—bordering on rude." (More Nancy Pelosi stories.)

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