Pelosi Explains What Was Really Behind Her Viral Trump Clap - Warns Trump Not to Threaten Congress

The image of Pelosi applauding Trump, which elicited many sarcastic reactions, instantly went viral and became one of the most memorable moments of the night

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver the State of the Union address, alongside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence,at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 5, 2019
Photo by Doug Mills / POOL / AFP

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has explained what she was thinking while applauding U.S. President Donald Trump during Tuesday's State of the Union. The image of Pelosi applauding Trump, which elicited many sarcastic responses, instantly went viral and became one of the most memorable moments from the night. 

However, Pelosi claims the applause was genuine.

“It wasn’t sarcastic,” Pelosi reportedly told reporters. “Look at what I was applauding. I wanted him to know that it was very welcomed.”

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Pelosi’s viral applause came in response to Trump calling for the rejection of “the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution" and his call for lawmakers to “embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.”

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Pelosi's daughter disagreed on Twitter, writing, "oh yes that clap took me back to the teen years. She knows. And she knows that you know. And frankly she’s disappointed that you thought this would work. But here’s a clap."

Trump warned Congress on Tuesday during the address that investigations and legislation don’t mix. But Pelosi said such threats have no place in the House, as unbowed Democrats charged ahead Wednesday with plans to probe Trump’s tax returns, business and ties to Russia.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, announced a broad new investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s foreign financial interests. Other committees’ actions are well underway.

The day after the president essentially laid out the ultimatum to Congress during his State of the Union address, Democrats appeared even more resolved to conduct oversight of his administration and legislate on their priorities.

“The president should not bring threats to the floor of the House,” Pelosi told reporters, rebuking Trump for saying during his address that the “ridiculous partisan investigations” must end because they could harm the economy.

Pelosi said Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight, under the Constitution’s system of checks and balances, and would be “delinquent” if it failed to do so.