The 2019 State of the Union was one of the most anticipated presidential speeches in decades. Many tuned in to see what Donald Trump would say about the government shutdown and building the border wall. The tone of the evening was mostly positive — in the beginning — demonstrating the great things that have been accomplished so far. Then the president moved on to the more troubling and controversial topics of immigration and border control. Even watching at a safe distance via televisions and computers, the audience could feel the tension hanging over the room like a suffocating fog of Democratic stubborn animosity.
Body and facial language told the story of the SOTU atmosphere better than any reporter or story teller ever could. And none were more obvious in their disapproval of our president than the “Queen of Mean,” Nancy Pelosi.
Really, everything can be summed up in just this one picture. Every inch of the woman’s body screeched her contempt and bitterness for Trump, starting with her clothes. Pelosi’s every body movement screamed her intent to disagree with everything, no matter how positive the message may be. Next, it’s her smirking face and half-smile, a clear picture of a woman mocking the president. Fremont College defined several body language gestures and what they mean. Here, it completely captured Pelosi:
A “half-smile” is another common facial behavior that only engages one side of the mouth and indicates sarcasm or uncertainty. You may also notice a slight grimace that lasts less than a second before someone smiles. This typically suggests that the person is hiding his or her dissatisfaction behind a fake smile. Tight, pursed lips also indicate displeasure, while a relaxed mouth indicates a relaxed attitude and positive mood.
The Queen of Mean didn’t even try to hide her smirk; she wore it like a badge of honor.
And now we get to the most childish, mocking, disrespectful and inappropriate behavior: the “Pelosi Clap” as it’s becoming known across the internet.
First, we see Pelosi obviously disinterested in the speech as she shuffles through papers, not paying much attention to what is being said around her. Instead of setting the papers on top of the counter, where they would be mostly out of sight, she holds them high enough that no one mistakes the implication that she’d rather be reading than listening:
“When a person holds an object between him or her and the person they are interacting with, this serves as a barrier that is meant to block out the other person. For example, if two people are talking and one person holds a pad of paper in front of him or her, this is considered a blocking act in nonverbal communication.”
While a disinterested Pelosi perused paperwork, the president said: “But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.” Seemingly caught off guard, the Queen of Mean looked up, an expression of confusion on her face, then glanced at Vice President Mike Pence to see that he was standing and clapping. She then proceeded to stand and give what will soon become known as the infamous Pelosi Clap. Reminiscent of the golf clap, the unmistakable message was clear: She didn’t give a hoot what Trump was saying. Did she even hear his words, or was she lollygagging and thinking about ways to improve her border wall around her palace?
As Liberty Nation’s Leesa K. Donner wrote: “Interpersonal communication not only involves the spoken word, but rather a whole host of unspoken messages.” In fact, “Body Language accounts for 55% of the overall message.”
Pelosi’s message was glaringly clear: Trump could find a cure for cancer, end world hunger, settle the global warming concerns, bring about world peace, and find every American a good job with benefits and the woman would still think him evil and refuse to cooperate.