Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) unwittingly launched a myriad of memes and jokes on social media platforms on Tuesday night and beyond after the two delivered an awkwardly staged rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s first Oval Office address.
The major media networks carried both Trump’s speech and the Democrats’ rebuttal during prime-time slots Tuesday evening.
The speeches occurred amid a partial government shutdown, which resulted from Democrats’ refusal to give Trump the $5 billion in border wall funding he demanded.
The president called for ending the “humanitarian crisis” at the border and urged Democrats to provide wall funding and reopen the government.
But Pelosi and Schumer refused to back down in their joint rebuttals.
“Much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice,” Pelosi claimed. “The president has chosen fear.”
Schumer said, “The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall,” as he urged Trump to “re-open the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security.”
But many social media users felt that the two Democratic leaders positioned themselves awkwardly and stiffly as they stood close together in front of a tiny podium before a conspicuous row of American flags.
The staging drew comparisons to everything ranging from the creepy twins in “The Shining” movie to the iconic “American Gothic” painting to a disapproving mom and dad lecturing their disobedient children.
MSNBC anchor Brian Williams said Tuesday that “this Chuck and Nancy visual tonight launched 1,000 memes while they were still talking.”
“There was an ‘American Gothic’ meme, there was a ‘Your mother and I are very upset you stayed out so late’ meme,” Williams added. “But this visual from tonight goes down in the pantheon.”
Democratic strategist James Carville told Williams, “I don’t think they wanted to do it. I don’t think they should’ve done it … I’ve been more excited about colonoscopies than he was giving his speech tonight. [Schumer] didn’t want to be there!”
YourVoice America host Bill Mitchell tweeted, “I would like to apologize to clowns, wood, dead people and the twins from ‘The Shining’ for comparing Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to them tonight.”
I would like to apologize to clowns, wood, dead people and the twins from The Shining for comparing Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to them tonight. pic.twitter.com/Cuh60ruChN
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) January 9, 2019
Twitter user neontaster tweeted an image of the farmer and his wife’s faces in the “American Gothic” painting swapped out with Schumer’s and Pelosi’s faces.
— neontaster (@neontaster) January 9, 2019
Some noted that Schumer and Pelosi should not have been staring at the teleprompter and camera at the same time while the other person was speaking.
Schumer, in particular, appeared to be glaring at the camera as Pelosi spoke.
“TV tip for Schumer and Pelosi — When on a two shot, look at the person talking, not at the camera. Gives impression of hostage tape,” conservative communications strategist Emily Miller tweeted. “I’m sure Chuck and Nancy have been on TV as much as I have. How do they not know to look at the speaker? … The other TV tip reason Chuck and Nancy seemed weird to viewers is they were both reading along the TelePrompTer as the other spoke. They weren’t reacting to the other’s message. Thus the dead in the eyes appearance.”
TV tip for Schumer and Pelosi – When on a two shot, look at the person talking, not at the camera. Gives impression of hostage tape.
— Emily Miller (@EmilyMiller) January 9, 2019
Cleveland.com reporter Seth Richardson tweeted, “If you played a drinking game where you had to drink every time Pelosi and Schumer blinked during this speech, you would be very sober at the end.”
If you played a drinking game where you had to drink every time Pelosi and Schumer blinked during this speech, you would be very sober at the end. pic.twitter.com/qsgEfT25fy
— Seth A. Richardson (@SethARichardson) January 9, 2019
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld tweeted, “Chuck and Nancy look like they’re selling me a reverse mortgage.”
Chuck and Nancy look like they're selling me a reverse mortgage.
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) January 9, 2019
Fox Business Network host Trish Regan tweeted, “Chuck and Nancy… giving new meaning to a ‘deer in the headlights.’ Yikes.”
Chuck and Nancy… giving new meaning to a “deer in the headlights.”
— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) January 9, 2019
Fox New contributor and TownHall editor Guy Benson tweeted, “When you think you can sneak into the house after staying out too late, but Mom & Dad are up waiting for you in the living room.”
When you think you can sneak into the house after staying out too late, but Mom & Dad are up waiting for you in the living room pic.twitter.com/TOqINd1DaP
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 9, 2019
Daily Wire editor-in-chief and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted, “The special effects for the undead are so lifelike these days! Wow!”
The special effects for the undead are so lifelike these days! Wow! pic.twitter.com/930ewSueex
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 9, 2019
Check out the rebuttal in the video below: