Nancy Pelosi's Clap at the State of the Union Tops This Week's Internet News

While You Were Offline: Pelosi Wins the State of the Union

The internet loved Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's clap during President Trump's State of the Union speech. Doug Mills/Getty Images

Hey, tiger. Long week, huh? Between the Jeff Bezos vs. National Enquirer dustup and the acting attorney general of the United States testifying before Congress, there's been a lot of back and forth. But last week also saw the premiere of Ariana Grande's new video and a cat that miraculously came back to life after being frozen in the snow , so it's not all bad. Happy Year of the Pig , everybody!

The State of the Union Is as Boring as Ever

What Happened: After all the shutdown drama, last week President Trump was finally able to give his 2019 State of the Union address. Was it worth waiting for? It depends on how much you were looking forward to bad writing and flat delivery, but at least the audience was interesting.

What Really Happened: Welp, after a lot of political rigamarole, President Trump gave his State of the Union speech last week—and what a speech it was. Clocking in at 82 minutes, it was the third longest State of the Union speech ever. (Unable to break the record for the longest speech ever? Sad!) But journalists aside , nobody really cares about the runtime except for the poor people who had to sit through the whole thing. We'll get back to them later. In the meantime, let's look at what Trump said.

https://twitter.com/PoliticalShort/status/1092968783734403072

https://twitter.com/StevenTDennis/status/1092972732793450496

https://twitter.com/katiecouric/status/1092977531979001863

https://twitter.com/RichardMadan/status/1092979119422431233

https://twitter.com/cathymcmorris/status/1092988815126552578

As should be expected, fact - checkers were busy pointing out falsehoods and misstatements , but even they couldn't make people take the speech as anything other than a damp squib, judging by the reaction online.

https://twitter.com/KellyannePolls/status/1093472018345979905

OK, we meant those not already on the Trump train , as Twitter was all too eager to demonstrate.

https://twitter.com/SupaSambo/status/1093225598695153664

https://twitter.com/RobertGuttman/status/1093184653731733504

https://twitter.com/RonaldKlain/status/1092986758143320066

https://twitter.com/MattGlassman312/status/1092981987504283649

https://twitter.com/jeremynewberger/status/1093150902092005384

Of course, we can't just blame the writing in this case. After all, it is a speech delivered by Donald Trump, and that brings certain … shall we call them perks? Sure, why not.

https://twitter.com/brianstelter/status/1092975299212574728

It's also worth noting what the president didn't mention during the speech.

https://twitter.com/NicoleGoodkind/status/1092992072607559680

But let's get back to that lengthy run time. Just how long was the speech this year? More importantly, how long did it feel ? Well, let's consider the case of one of the special guests at the speech, brought there by the First Family.

https://twitter.com/matt_odonnell/status/1092709486584872960

https://twitter.com/NYMag/status/1092634470484709377

It was a heartwarming story with a twist ending .

https://twitter.com/AJHonore/status/1093143366995505152

So, yeah. It was a pretty bad speech. So bad that a lot of the post-speech discussion online didn't actually focus on Trump's oration, but on people the world was actually interested in. Of particular interest, as is becoming increasingly common these days, was the presence of representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Even among other congresspeople, she was a star.

https://twitter.com/RepJudyChu/status/1092977182790569990

People were obsessed with what she was wearing (especially as she was one of many women of Congress dressed in white for symbolic reasons)—

https://twitter.com/Arman_Azy/status/1092981594040688640

https://twitter.com/TUSK81/status/1092988761741246464

—and people were obsessed with how she behaved during the speech itself, with her responses drawing different reactions depending on what side of the political divide they came from.

https://twitter.com/walkerj1/status/1092983408534401025

https://twitter.com/_BananaCandy/status/1092987450031407105

https://twitter.com/cosmos_michaelb/status/1093008013525364736

https://twitter.com/ElizabethBrossa/status/1093006455479984128

https://twitter.com/thecjpearson/status/1092979322565083136

https://twitter.com/laurenacooley/status/1092977367805558795

The speech also launched a meme that put KKK hoods on AOC and the other Democratic women wearing white , but, as ever, Ocasio-Cortez rose above the cheap shots with a blunt, honest response.

https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1093018708186972160

To be fair, she may have already won even before the State of the Union thanks to this preview tweet:

https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1092793717533093888

Who would have thought that the Twitter President would run too long, and be brought low by someone else keeping to 280 characters or less? Is that … irony ?

The Takeaway: This feels like an appropriate summary of what happened during the State of the Union, sadly. More sadly, this could describe so many State of the Unions before this one.

https://twitter.com/TalbertSwan/status/1093107277647757312

Nancy Pelosi Is All of Us Watching the SOTU

What Happened: Not content with winning people over by standing up to the president during the shutdown, last week speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi became the internet's avatar for State of the Union responses.

What Really Happened: Officially, the Democratic response to Trump's State of the Union speech came from Stacey Abrams, who delivered a short speech that seemed to go over well , triggering talk of a possible presidential run and panic at Fox News . But neither Abrams, nor even AOC, provided the most popular and widely shared Democratic rebuttal to the president's speech. No, for that, the internet turned to Nancy Pelosi. Madame Speaker?

https://twitter.com/byHeatherLong/status/1092982016352681989

Sure, we all know what a "hell no" look is, but if only there was a perfect example of just how wonderfully passive aggressive Pelosi's clapping looked…

https://twitter.com/bkurbs/status/1092999933865742337

Everyone immediately understood what was going on in the image, and so, a meme was born.

https://twitter.com/spicykezzinnugg/status/1092986834949496833

https://twitter.com/MatthewACherry/status/1092992256036884480

https://twitter.com/desusnice/status/1092987689828265984

https://twitter.com/Mikel_Jollett/status/1092985947229020160

https://twitter.com/eakuhl/status/1093085159946108928

The internet was in love.

https://twitter.com/eugenegu/status/1092991025260318721

https://twitter.com/GhostFaceSigma/status/1092999695604072449

https://twitter.com/RespectableLaw/status/1093026631080386560

https://twitter.com/cbouzy/status/1093122054080118785

It was the clapback seen around the world, and was soon the subject of a number of stories the next day. When sarcastic applause gets as much coverage as a speech, that’s when you know that nobody was really listening to what was being said.

The Takeaway: There’s one person who recognized exactly what Pelosi was doing: her daughter.

https://twitter.com/sfpelosi/status/1093178767642488832

Investigate This

What Happened: As if to reinforce that no one was paying attention to the State of the Union, lawmakers responded to Trump's demand not to be investigated by announcing a new wide-ranging investigation into his administration and campaign.

What Really Happened: One particular line of Trump's SOTU speech would appear to be particularly prescient, given what happened the very next day—and not just because it was an awkward, tortured rhyme.

https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1092973137317322752

https://twitter.com/jimsciutto/status/1092972612647559168

Less than 24 hours after the president complained publicly that there "cannot" be an investigation into his administration, the House Intelligence Committee—now under Democrat control for the first time in the Trump era—made a couple of big announcements.

https://twitter.com/saraecook/status/1093161015284518912

No, that wasn't one of the big announcements, although the reason given seemed somewhat curious… Well, until the following two announcements were made, at least.

https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1093183795254185987

OK, that was kind of big. (Only kind of, because the Republican-controlled Intelligence Committee voted to release some of those transcripts last year , so it's not as if they were entirely hidden.) Even that was, however, the lesser of the two pieces of news announced by Rep. Adam Schiff on Wednesday.

https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1093230084637437952

https://twitter.com/jeremyherb/status/1093197709908078593

https://twitter.com/mkraju/status/1093187708892131330

Yes, the House will really for serious investigate the president and potential wrongdoing, unlike what happened under Republicans , which was clearly not intended to be a serious investigation . Oh, and that's not all: Everyone in America will get to find out exactly what the investigation reveals.

https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/1093196039669145600

So, you know, that's kind of a big deal. How did the president, who just finished declaring he shouldn't be investigated, respond to the news that he was actually going to be very investigated ? The answer is pretty much, "as you'd expect."

https://twitter.com/EamonJavers/status/1093224108043784197

https://twitter.com/jdawsey1/status/1093233021992480768

That was just the start of his tailspin; the next day on Twitter, he shared how he really felt .

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1093467800964866048

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1093471134845190145

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1093489029780332545

So, the tenor of his reaction seems to be "clearly terrified," then. The next few months clearly aren't going to be boring, at least.

The Takeaway: How best to sum up this week in terms of the volleys between the president and the House Intelligence Committee? This seems pretty accurate, considering.

https://twitter.com/fuzzyblumonster/status/1093209071564423168

Bad Yearbook Photos

What Happened: Apparently, every politician of a certain age in Virginia has a personal connection to blackface in their past.

What Really Happened: It's not all about Washington this week, though! Let's take a moment to consider the horror show that is Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's response to the discovery of a photograph that may, perhaps, have featured him either dressed as a member of the KKK or in blackface. After initially apologizing hours after the photo went viral last Friday, he shockingly walked back that apology a day later.

https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1091784017286963200

https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1091785141540843520

Oh, but it got worse. Much worse.

https://twitter.com/cmclymer/status/1091784469416169472

https://twitter.com/dandrezner/status/1091784421433401346

Yes, that's right; Northam's argument that it wasn't him in a photograph showing someone in blackface was, essentially, "Don't get me wrong, I did get dressed up in blackface, but I didn't look like that ." And that's saying nothing about the fact that he almost moonwalked at the press conference, only to be talked out of it by his wife . Let's just say that it was far from the most convincing pushback.

https://twitter.com/PhilipRucker/status/1091791848648204289

https://twitter.com/lookner/status/1091789767962972164

This really didn't go down well with other Democrats.

https://twitter.com/mkraju/status/1091845562222153730

https://twitter.com/igorbobic/status/1091793639460745216

https://twitter.com/ThePlumLineGS/status/1091781709878751234

https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1091793476277202946

As of this writing, a full week after the photograph originally came to light, Northam has not resigned—indeed, he reportedly refuses to do so in case that meant he would be branded as "racist for life," as if that's not a done deal already—but the heat has been inexplicably taken off him by the fact that a second Democrat in Virginia came out as wearing blackface last week.

https://twitter.com/MarkHerringVA/status/1093187229533519872

https://twitter.com/alexi/status/1093195453464748039

Unsurprisingly, the Republican Party swiftly moved to take advantage of this.

https://twitter.com/VA_GOP/status/1093276851924021248

But, guess what ? Spoiler alert: It's exactly what you're worried about.

https://twitter.com/SteveKornacki/status/1093537925290168320

Oh, and then there was this, too.

https://twitter.com/nprpolitics/status/1093626726804901888

The Takeaway: What's genuinely shocking about the following tweet is that it doesn’t actually seem over-the-top or out-of-bounds considering what's actually been happening this week.

https://twitter.com/rexsantus/status/1093613532560658440

Liam, No

What Happened: Actor Liam Neeson said some fairly racist-sounding things. Lots of people noticed.

What Really Happened: In what might be an almost-impressive feat of career suicide, Liam Neeson decided to share something that he really shouldn't have last week.

https://twitter.com/Independent/status/1092407864927371264

It almost sounds like an Onion joke, but it really wasn't; Neeson did indeed give an interview wherein he admitted to wandering around wanting to attack a person of color after a friend had been raped.

https://twitter.com/treytylor/status/1092435266634244096

https://twitter.com/juliacraven/status/1092463209439731712

https://twitter.com/BizPears/status/1092424254514216960

https://twitter.com/HannahAlOthman/status/1092415672192327680

https://twitter.com/TooManyEmmas/status/1092437971796676608

The writer of the Independent story took to Twitter to talk about her experience.

https://twitter.com/Clemence_Mcl/status/1092415369552236544

https://twitter.com/Clemence_Mcl/status/1092415593909796864

Some people tried to see the funny side of the what was happening—

https://twitter.com/buttmerogers/status/1092551875973373952

https://twitter.com/Babre13/status/1092501850186702848

https://twitter.com/KindaSamwise/status/1092522247250722818

—but more people couldn't quite see what was worth laughing about.

https://twitter.com/AyoCaesar/status/1092438089052708864

https://twitter.com/FredTJoseph/status/1092473358896246785

https://twitter.com/TheRickyDavila/status/1092505073337405442

https://twitter.com/heyjenbartel/status/1092575713062981632

The interview prompted much discussion across the media . A day later, Neeson attempted to tamp down the controversy, with a second interview on the topic.

https://twitter.com/JamesAALongman/status/1092781007764369408

https://twitter.com/JamesAALongman/status/1092781800454344705

People weren't convinced by it , and the backlash continued as public events got cancelled . Would no one stand up for Neeson, preferably with a ridiculous statement that you can't quite believe was shared publicly?

https://twitter.com/HuffPost/status/1093598242426810368

There we go. Celebrities! They're just like us, only they say really stupid things and everyone hears about it!

https://twitter.com/Ankaman616/status/1093557796325474306

The Takeaway: Man, remember when Liam Neeson wasn't an embarrassment? You know, like a week ago?

https://twitter.com/levicantweet/status/1092505959879114759

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