It’s been a rocky few months for the relationship between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It’s been weeks since the two last had a conversation.
That doesn’t seem likely to change tonight.
Before President Trump began his State of the Union address, he handed copies of his speech to Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence. When Pelosi extended her hand to Trump, he declined to take it.
She shrugged, then turned to the audience and smiled.
Since Trump was impeached in the House, Pelosi has continued to criticize him, releasing the first of several reports on how Trump is “failing working-class families” just before Tuesday’s presidential address.
As soon as Trump turned away from Pelosi Tuesday night, the Internet wondered: Did we really just see that?
Once enough viewers confirmed that Trump did, indeed, decline the handshake, the reactions began, with Trump’s supporters applauding the president and Pelosi’s supporters condemning him. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) tweeted that the move underscored the president’s “disdain for women.”
It’s not the first time Pelosi has prompted a viral moment at the State of the Union. Last year, her very particular style of clapping became an instant meme.
Later on Tuesday evening, relations between Trump and Pelosi continued to go downhill. When Trump wrapped up his address, Pelosi began ripping up her copy of his speech.
It’s possible Pelosi knew viewers would meme-ify the handshake-refusal moment, as The Washington Post’s White House reporter Ashley Parker suggested.
Maybe she wanted them to remember something else.