Well everyone, we made it. The 2019 State of the Union is officially over, and it was definitely one for the books. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, Donald Trump took center stage to address a number of issues within the United States, and the future of this country. While some attendees were clearly eating it up, Nancy Pelosi's body language at the 2019 State of the Union might say otherwise.
Throughout Trump's address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat next to Vice President Mike Pence to hear what the president had to say. So, seeing as she was in front of cameras herself the whole time, it's hard not to notice her facial expressions, movement, and overall body language. All in all, Pelosi remained composed, especially since she and Trump just (temporarily) ended a month-long feud over the government shutdown and Trump's demand for nearly $6 billion to fund a border wall between the United States and Mexico. However, there were a few moments that Pelosi let slip, and they were too good to ignore.
For example, at one point Trump mentioned during the address that the country must stop focusing on "revenge politics," which prompted Pelosi to stand up with the rest of the crowd and make a very exaggerated clapping gesture towards him. According to Traci Brown, body language expert and author of How to Detect Lies, Fraud and Identity Theft: Field Guide, that speaks volumes about her level of respect for Trump. "I've never seen such disrespect and outright mocking from a politician as this shot from Pelosi," she tells Elite Daily by email. "It's clear that the eye contact and raised clapping that she is giving him a clear signal that she doesn't believe anything he says and is disgusted by it. The tilt of her head says that she's looking down on him."
Of course, Pelosi is physically above the president — but that might not matter. "She is seated above him but I believe we'd see it at the same tilt if they were physically positioned on more even ground," Brown says.
While speaking, Trump brought up his plans to start an initiative dedicated to driving economic empowerment for women in developing countries. However, the minute he brought this up, it looks like Pelosi does almost a half eye roll and immediately reaches for her paper. Judging from Brown's observations, the House speaker isn't buying it.
"She just doesn't believe anything she's hearing and is sick of it," Brown says. "She's just not having any of what he's saying."
One of Trump's main talking points during the address was immigration, but there was one particular moment that stuck out. While speaking on the issue, Trump brought up the "migrant caravan," which consists of thousands of migrants from Central America fleeing their countries from violence attempting to seek new lives in Mexico and the United States. Trump hasn't been shy about expressing his opposition to the migrant caravan, but during the State of the Union he stated that he plans to send nearly 4,000 trips to the Southern Border to prepare for an "onslaught."
Following Trump's comments, Pelosi proceeded to hold her hand up to the Democratic side of the room in an effort to quiet them down. In Brown's opinion, that showed her strength and position in Congress.
"She's the clear leader of the Democrats," Brown says. "They listened to her — and it was a very small gesture — and toned down their noise. They must have had all eyes on her, not even paying attention to him!"
In addition to these telling clips, there was also one moment that might have been a bit more subtle and you could have missed. Throughout Trump's entire State of the Union address, Pelosi regularly shuffled through her papers while he was speaking to the crowd. While this could just be seen as her trying to be organized, there might be more to the story, particularly since she wasn't the one giving a speech, according to body language expert Patti Wood, author of SNAP: Making The Most Of First Impressions, Body Language, And Charisma.
"Pelosi held up and read her notes near the beginning of the president's [speech] as an obvious and clear and sustained nonverbal message of disbelief and regard for the president," Wood tells Elite Daily by email. "Reading notes is a tactic that I actually have coached speakers to do [during] debates to hold in their nervousness and show their disinterest during debates because [it's] one of the only oddly politically correct ways of showing disrespect and disagreement."
So there's that. Truth be told, I don't blame Pelosi for letting her feelings show during this 2019 State of the Union. It was definitely a doozy.