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Media Tries to Save SOTU Coverage by Focusing on Pelosi Clap

Polling out immediately after President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday suggested he knocked it out of the park.

CBS released a poll that said 76 percent of those who watched it liked it and 72 percent agreed with his policies on immigration [1]. CNN released a poll that said 59 percent viewed it favorably, another 17 somewhat favorably [1] and only 23 percent viewed it negatively.

The media turned to a moment when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to show up Trump by extending her arms forward to clap in an effort to make it look as if she were clapping in sarcasm.

“But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.” As members on both sides of the aisle rose to applaud, Pelosi arose behind Trump and made her gesture. The liberal media had its moment.

“President Donald Trump spoke for more than an hour and 20 minutes last night, but the moment that may be remembered best from his State of the Union address had no words at all,” wrote HuffPost’s Ed Mazza [2] in “Nancy Pelosi’s Literal Clap-Back at Trump is the Most Iconic Moment of the Night” – subhead: “The speaker’s seemingly sarcastic applause quickly turned into a new meme.”

Pelosi took her seat behind Trump, who was “supposed to be the center of attention,” the Post’s Allyson Chiu wrote [3] in “’Queen of Condescending Applause’: Nancy Pelosi clapped at Trump, and the Internet lost it.”

“But as late-night host Seth Meyers reminded his audience during Tuesday’s special live show covering the speech, ‘There’s a long history of the people sitting behind the president getting as much attention as the president himself.’

“This year was no exception.

“In a fleeting moment, shown for only seconds on live broadcasts but immortalized in photos and GIFs, Pelosi became the Internet’s newest obsession – for clapping.”

Monica Hesse, a style writer for the Post, called it [4] “the lasting visual image from Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. It featured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauding President Trump in a way that can only be described as … withering? Pitying? Lucille Bluth-like in its contemptuousness?”

Esquire picked up [5] on the Lucille Bluth theme as well with “Nancy Pelosi Clapped at Donald Trump and a State of the Union Meme Was Born” by Justin Kirkland. The subhead read: “Is That Lucille Bluth back there?” Lucille Bluth is a fictional character – she played a mother in the comic series “Arrested Development.”

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi will undoubtedly go down in history for her biggest career accomplishments: being the first female Speaker of the House or her dogged approach to push universal healthcare through the House,” Kirkland wrote [5]. “But today, she is simply restating that she is a human meme generator. She ended last year with a great one, and she’s kicking this year off with another: The Unimpressed Clap.”

Kirkland went on to say the meme, “which is decidedly pettiness personified, is best utilized while mockingly congratulating someone for something they should have been doing all along. Also, for acknowledging Pelosi deploying the essence of Lucille Bluth. In case you were curious if Pelosi really was going full-petty, this glorious moment came to be as Trump made the following statement during the State of the Union speech …”

The New York Times took the opportunity to brag on its photographer, Doug Mills, [6] who took the photo of Pelosi’s arms outstretched in what reporter Yonette Joseph called a “walrus clap.”

In that image, Joseph wrote [6], “the internet saw acres of shade dispensed by a skilled politician firmly in control.”