Shows you how different impressions of the same event can be. I didn’t leave the room once during the president’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday. But if I had to assess the behavior of the Democrats in attendance based on the available evidence, which was the occasional cutaway to the audience, the word I would use to describe it would be petulant.
Apparently I’m not alone in that perception. The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman made this observation:
[House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi and her colleagues obviously decided before the event that they would provide television cameras with reaction shots expressing their disapproval or even contempt for the President. He caught them off guard by delivering a big-hearted, moving and gracious address, but they seemed unable to react in real time. The pantsuit caucus and their equally grumpy male Democratic colleagues continued to sit, frown and offer tepid applause or none at all even for lines that would be objectionable.
For those who might beg to differ, Freeman provides a tweet by Pelosi several hours before the speech indicating that the wearing of white was intended as a thumb in Donald Trump’s eye:
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 28, 2017
Nevertheless, there are those who saw the Democrats’ behavior differently. One commentator went so far as to describe their deportment as dignified. That would be “conservative” TV host Joe Scarborough, who had Pelosi on as a guest yesterday. His reaction begins at around 1:27 in the video that follows:
Maybe he planted the seed but when it was Pelosi’s turn to speak again (at 3:03), she picked up on the dignity meme:
What I was concerned is, people might boo, because, for all of the dignity that we wanted to bring to the address of the president, the fact is, I had no idea he was going to make an assault on public education, that he was going to have nothing positive to say about immigration, that he’s going to blow up the deficit. [Emphasis added]
I will grant that the Democrats stopped short of giving Donald Trump a Bronx cheer, but raising their arms to make their thumbs-down gestures more visible comes pretty close.