In case anyone wasn’t sure when to clap during President Trump’s State of the Union speech, he made it very clear, by loudly clapping at his own remarks into the microphone at his podium.
Was it a matter of stagecraft? Stage direction? A guy who just didn’t realize how close to the mic he was clapping? It’s impossible to say — almost as impossible as it was to keep count of Trump’s many self-directed applause breaks.
He clapped for America, for the military, for an Albuquerque cop who stopped a pregnant woman from injecting heroin by promising to adopt her daughter. Most deserved the claps, to be sure. But wow, there were a great many claps, and they provided the most memorable sound of the 2018 State of the Union.
Claps have always been a big part of the State of the Union — “Saturday Night Live” once built a sketch around Vice President Dan Quayle (Michael J. Fox) not knowing when to clap for President Bush (Dana Carvey). And talking heads always take note of when Democrats clap, when Republicans clap, and when both clap. Or refuse to clap.
But no one will ever need to debate when Trump clapped. He clapped for his own call to crush ISIS. He clapped for the flag. He clapped and clapped and clapped and CLAPPED.
And Twitter clapped back:
This is a significant stage-business point. Trump is clapping *into the microphone*, which is what you hear (and haven’t heard from other presidents). https://t.co/5Rfd2QFmRS
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) January 31, 2018
President Trump is loving this clapping so much that is he making sure his claps are last heard before he continues his speech.
Time check: We are mid way through page 4 of a 13 page speech and we are 30 minutes in.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) January 31, 2018
Make America Stop Clapping Directly Into The Microphone Again. #SOTU
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) January 31, 2018
#SOTU2018 is trump saying he hates poor people then clapping for himself
— sport wagon (@sumnerlonseth) January 31, 2018
Dude clapping at his lines is as corny as a comedian laughing at his own jokes #SOTU
— RLG ♠ (@R_L_G) January 31, 2018
— William L Miller (@WmLeeMiller) January 31, 2018
best part of #SOTU is trump’s clap being heard over everyone else’s
— Jenna 애정 (@jenna_hall619) January 31, 2018
Trump has been doing a non-verbal "please clap" all night and I love it
— Russ the Lifelong Eagles Fan (@Russ_Steinberg) January 31, 2018
— adi ???? (@adiyanna) January 31, 2018
There must be something on the Teleprompter telling Trump to pause for applause. He keeps sweeping his right arm as if it's a signal to clap. #SOTU
— Ron Brackett (@rontimes) January 31, 2018
— Tim Reilly (@LifeOfaReilly) January 31, 2018
Donald Trump motioning people to stand up and clap after he says something just kills me ????????????
— AleshaSikora (@SikoraAlesha) January 31, 2018
Things I have learned tonight:
Trump likes to clap when others are clapping.#SOTU
— Dan Riley (@driley32) January 31, 2018
I think someone needs to tell Trump that you are not supposed to clap at your own talking points #SOTU
— Nick Martinez (@nm10King) January 31, 2018
Trump keeps trying to compel Democrats to stand & clap for him by extending his arm outward like, "Come on… Don't you like me?" #SOTU
— Markell Ⓐ (@MarkellBJ) January 31, 2018
— ALEXIA (@LaFrancineee) January 31, 2018