The 'Pelosi Clap,' standing ovations and that wonky tie: The world reacts to Trump's State of the Union

Key Points
  • Twitter users seized upon some memorable moments during the speech.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump's wonky red tie and Tiffany Trump's outfit all caused a stir.
  • Democratic congresswomen led one standing ovation.
Watch the key moments from President Trump's second State of the Union
Watch the key moments from President Trump's second State of the Union

President Donald Trump's 2019 State of the Union address got the world talking with social media reacting to key takeaways and memorable moments during the speech.

Trump announced a second North Korea summit for the end of February and re-affirmed his commitment to building a border wall. He also called for an end to investigations into his administration and for bipartisan cooperation.

Soon enough, Twitter was ablaze with comments about the speech. But, as ever, the public was quickly picking up on the minutiae, including the president's "wildly crooked tie" and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's paper shuffling.


Trump also talked about the economic recovery in the U.S., prompting various chants of "USA USA," and said the only things that could stop it were "foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations."

He wasn't specific, but his words were taken to mean the inquiries launched by Democrats into the Trump administration and the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the campaign, which both Russia and Trump deny.

Watch three politics experts critique President Trump's second State of the Union
Watch three politics experts critique President Trump's second State of the Union

That prompted a wry smile from Democrat Pelosi, who was sitting behind Trump and next to Vice President Mike Pence.

In fact, throughout the address, Pelosi's facial expressions and reactions (which were, as Trump's political rival, naturally negative ones) were widely seized upon by viewers. But it was her seemingly mocking applause at the end of Trump's speech that prompted a Twitter storm, with the "Pelosi clap" quickly trending and becoming a meme.



While many Twitter users loved Pelosi's body language of barely contained disdain and disbelief at Trump's claims, others tried to guess what she was reading when seen looking though various pieces of paper. She was criticized by some as disrespectful.


Another moment that garnered international and social media attention was the cheering of Democratic congresswomen after Trump's comments about female job creation.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, smiles as U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, delivers a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year," the president said, prompting groups of Democratic lawmakers, who were dressed in white to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, to stand and applaud each other.

Trump responded by telling them that they "weren't supposed to do that" and thanked the audience for its response.


Twitter users seized on the irony of the comments, remarking that the Democratic congresswomen's standing ovation was a sarcastic response to Trump claiming the credit for the new jobs.

Others said Trump had not intended his comments to be associated with the electoral success of the congresswomen — although Trump then referenced the fact that there were now more women serving in Congress than ever before. This sparked rapturous applause, high-fives and more chants of "USA, USA."

Some speculated on whether Trump's daughter Tiffany intentionally wore white, the same color of female Democrats, out of solidarity with them. She was also spotted sitting away from Melania and Ivanka Trump, who were both wearing more muted attire.


Stacey Abrams delivers the Democratic response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union.

When Stacey Abrams delivered the Democratic response to Trump's address, she said the hopes of American families were being "crushed" by the Republican leadership.

It wasn't her words that caught some viewers' attention, however, but the visuals. Some speculated that she was standing in front of a green screen because of the back-lighting on the stage, until the camera zoomed out at the end of her speech.