News World Nancy Pelosi’s brief round of applause overshadows Donald Trump’s State of the Union
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Nancy Pelosi’s brief round of applause overshadows Donald Trump’s State of the Union

nancy pelosi donald trump clap
The distinctive clap has inspired a flurry of social media memes. Photo: Getty
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US President Donald Trump spoke for more than 80 minutes as he delivered his State of the Union address on Wednesday, but a five-second clip of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is all many Americans are talking about.

Mr Trump was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Ms Pelosi on the floor of the House of Representatives as he appealed for political unity in what was the third-longest State of the Union address in history.

But his wide-ranging speech was largely overshadowed by a brief clip in the live broadcast of Ms Pelosi’s seemingly condescending clap of appreciation.

Ms Pelosi, an outspoken adversary of the Republican President, limited her reaction during the speech to subtle head-shaking, pursed lips and eye rolls, while often distracting herself by staring at her notes.

But as the President concluded his address, the House Speaker rose from her seat and ostentatiously applauded Mr Trump with her hands oddly extended in a manner that screamed of anything but appreciation. As Mr Trump turned to face her, she appeared to pout and smirk.

Late night hosts, social media users and US new outlets were quick to crown Ms Pelosi the “Queen of Condescending Applause”, and proclaimed the clip the “Sarcastic Clapback Heard Around the World” and the “iconic picture for the ages”.

Even Ms Pelosi’s daughter, a Democratic political strategist and author, joined in Thursday morning, declaring she was no stranger to the sardonic applause.

Others rushed to use the distinctive hand clap to comical affect in an ever-growing numer of online memes.

Mr Trump used his first State of the Union address to a divided Congress to warn the Democrats that “ridiculous partisan investigations” could derail the nation’s economic progress.

In a speech peppered with calls for bipartisanship, he urged Washington to govern “not as two parties, but as one nation”.

But the President’s message clashed with the rancorous atmosphere he has helped cultivate in the nation’s capital, as well as the desire of most Democrats to block his path during his next two years in office.

In a 90-minute speech that ranged across the economy, immigration, abortion and trade with China, Mr Trump almost announced he’d hold another summit with North Korea in February.

Mr Trump’s address came at a critical moment in his presidency, after he pushed his party into a lengthy government shutdown over border security, only to cave to the Democrats.

With another shutdown deadline looming, the President has few options for getting Congress to fund a border wall, and he risks further alienating his party if he tries to circumvent lawmakers by declaring a national emergency instead.

-with agencies

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