The Brief: An image of Nancy Pelosi speaking to Donald Trump in a meeting has inspired a popular meme format with a variety of meanings, jokes, and political leanings.
Pelosi/Trump meeting memes stem from a contentious contentious White House meeting on Syria, shortly after the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan vote on a resolution opposing the Trump administration’s troop withdrawal.
At the meeting, a photograph was taken of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which she is shown speaking to President Trump while standing up and pointing directly at him. During this meeting, several Democratic leaders walked out after Trump started insulting Pelosi, calling her a “third-rate politician.” Pelosi said that he had actually called her a “third-grade politician.” Democrats at the meeting characterized Trump’s behavior as a “meltdown,” but White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that the president was “measured” and decisive.”
This photograph, which was taken by White House photographer Shealah Craighead is notable for several reasons including the fact that Pelosi is the only woman in the room, that Trump used it as an attack on Pelosi, and how she reclaimed the image of one of power.
Trump tweeted this photo with the caption “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” and Pelosi soon after clapped back, reclaiming the image as a symbol of her courage and power by making it her Twitter cover photo:
This photo has been used in memes with a variety of political messages from Trump supporters and Pelosi supporters alike. Some variations of Pelosi/Trump meeting memes appear to use it more as a basic image macro format than a highly politicized image. On the subreddit r/AccidentalRennaissance, the image was compared to Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper.”
Memes supporting Pelosi point to her power-pose and the way the men next to Trump have their heads down. The hashtag #PelosiOwnsTrump has begun to spread since this image was published. Pro-Trump memes paint Pelosi as rude or even hysterical, often resorting to sexist tropes.
Many people have compared this image to the woman yelling at a cat meme:
They did it…they did the meme in real life. pic.twitter.com/6X3Aw3mIYt
— Farron Cousins (@farronbalanced) October 16, 2019
Speaker Nancy Pelosi owns three of the most iconic moments of the past three years, and they all show her owning trump.
Now that we've lost the Honorable Rep. Elijah Cummings, she OWES it to him to finish the job, so he can truly rest in peace.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant Savage! (@mmpadellan) October 17, 2019
Overheard: Pelosi is now a verb, meaning to stand up to someone, or to own them in a critical moment, e.g. Trump tried to say she was a “third grade” politician, but she Pelosied him and hard.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 17, 2019
A Frank Ocean meme: