Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s response to President Donald Trump calling her “unhinged” in a tweet had her trending on Twitter on Thursday. Trump shared a photo of Pelosi standing up, sternly pointing at and speaking to him in the Cabinet Room, where she was surrounded by men. Trump shared the photo on Twitter with the caption, “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” Pelosi responded by making the image her Twitter cover photo.
Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown! pic.twitter.com/RDeUI7sfe7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2019
Trump followed up his tweet Wednesday with another that said, “The Do Nothing Democrats, Pelosi and Schumer stormed out of the Cabinet Room!”
However, Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had a different take on what occurred during the meeting, which included conversations about Trump’s controversial decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
Outside of the meeting, Pelosi told reporters Trump was “shaken up” by Republican criticisms of his decision, saying they come “at a difficult time for him.”
The House voted by a large majority to pass a resolution in opposition to Trump’s move.
“He was insulting, particularly to the Speaker,” Schumer told reporters. “She kept her cool completely, but he called her a third-rate politician. This was not a dialogue, it was sort of a diatribe. A nasty diatribe, not focused on the facts.”
Schumer said that during the meeting, Trump called Pelosi a “third-rate politician,” but Pelosi later corrected him, saying Trump called her a “third-grade politician.” Schumer’s account suggests Trump was the one who acted harshly.
After Pelosi changed her cover photo, Twitter users took to the platform, largely praising her and questioning Trump for sharing the image.
One Twitter user pointed out the body language of the men in the room as Pelosi spoke.
— Baby Mary (@BabyMary7) October 17, 2019
Human Rights Campaign’s Charlotte Clymer questioned the PR value of Trump sharing a photo of himself being berated.
Imagine Trump tweeting this out and thinking it makes Speaker Pelosi look bad. pic.twitter.com/q7buhpFWm3
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) October 16, 2019
Others questioned how Pelosi appearing to speak sternly with authority amounted to a “meltdown.”
Anyone out there who can explain how this picture shows an #unhingedmeltdown, please do?
(Looks like leadership to me. A bunch of boys being told they messed up by a wise mom.) https://t.co/bKqmvGfezs
— Mr. ⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️ (@MisterBare) October 16, 2019
The hashtag #PelosiOwnsTrump was trending Thursday afternoon. Under the hashtag #UnhingedMeltdown, many supported Pelosi, while others sided with Trump, suggesting Pelosi’s conduct was out of line.
— Deplorable Vet❌ (@champlintnusmc) October 17, 2019
CAUTION: #UnhingedMeltdown may cause dentures to come loose
— 🇺🇸🌸đåиιєℓℓє тħιикѕ fσɾ ħєɾѕєℓf(((+)))🌸🇺🇸 (@SilkSunflowers) October 17, 2019
Women face a double-standard in all areas regarding how others perceive them — and dismiss them — when they show emotion. The language people use to describe women’s anger is much different than that used to describe men’s. One Twitter user shared photos of Chief Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Senator Lindsey Graham and Trump speaking angrily, but pointed out how none of them were described as having a “meltdown.”
— Alice Quinn (@niffinandback) October 17, 2019
This double-standard is not just prominent in politics and is arguably more pronounced when the woman who comes “unhinged” is not white. The public saw it occur in sports in the 2018 U.S. Open when Serena Williams got into an argument with the umpire. Outlets like USA Today also described her behavior as a “meltdown.” Meanwhile, tennis player John McEnroe was famous — and somewhat beloved — for his violent outbursts on the court. He even published a book called “You Cannot Be Serious,” a quote from his most famous meltdown during the 1981 Wimbledon men’s final.
Trump’s language regarding the photo of Pelosi hearkens back to age-old sexist rhetoric that claims women are too emotional to be leaders — the same rhetoric that anti-suffragists used to justify believing women should not vote.
The image also is a look into who is making some of the most important decisions for our country: mainly older white men.