You must have seen news and jokes on the ‘Pelosi Clap’. For us, it was just something to make memes on. However, the gesture made by Pelosi was not so for Laura Dudley. She is a behavioral analyst and a clinical professor at Northeastern University. What’s more, she also specialises in body language.
“It was President Donald Trump who delivered the State of the Union address Tuesday. But, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the one who stole the show,” said Dudley.
The moment came when Donald Trump was speaking about women empowerment. He claimed that “more women are serving in Congress than at any time before.” Nancy Pelosi was standing behind Trump and she stood and clapped in a peculiar way at his remark. According to Dudley, she seemed to be staring with “laser focus” at Trump. Other congresswomen reacted to Trump’s statement by standing and hesitant cheering. And yet, nothing beat Pelosi’s reaction.
Dudley claims that body language analysis is not an exact science, as every person doesn’t think in the same way. She says that you can interpret Pelosi’s applause in two ways. As Dudley interprets, “She was supporting women, and celebrating with the president. Or it was an ironic moment, where she’s clapping for the women without supporting Trump’s statements.”
Her behavior was somewhat peculiar during the speech. “There were at least two times during the address when Pelosi held up her hand towards the Democrats. The gesture was to warn them from reacting to Trump’s statements,” Dudley said. “She did this once when Trump spoke out against war and ‘investigations’. The second time was when he described the caravans at the border.”
Along with this, Dudley also eyed the other members present. The President himself was facing to his left, towards his own Republican party. Vice President Mike Pence, also showcased some notable body language cues. He seemed to be leaning away from Pelosi. Dudley concluded that it “seems expected, given their history.”
As mentioned above, body language analysis is not an exact science. Yet, it sheds considerable light when looking at a particular scene, as Dudley has done in this case.