This photo was pulled from the twitter of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States. In this photo is a large group of politicians and other political leaders sitting in a circle at a table for a meeting of some sort. Every person in the photo is presumably white, and only one woman is clearly visible. The visible woman in the photo is standing up and pointing to and presumably speaking with the man across from her, the president of the United States. With the help of the caption of the twitter post, it is easy to tell that the woman standing is Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, one of the highest-ranking American political positions below the presidency.
The image is quite intense, as the focus is on Pelosi, who is pointing at Trump, who in return looks disgusted to be singled out. The other people in the room are all avoiding eye contact, some are looking down, averting their gaze, some just looking like they fell asleep during the meeting. Many of the men at the table look ashamed to be there, tension flooding the room as two of the most powerful Americans face-off. But the most prominent part of the photo is Pelosi, her presence being the first thing the eye is drawn to. The Speaker of the House is the most eye-catching part of the photo not only because she is the only one standing, but she is also wearing the brightest color, and the light behind her is illuminating her. The photo would practically be a portrait dedicated to her if it was not for who she is pointing to, the leader of the free world. Pelosi’s pose draws you in, and the viewer wants to understand why she has to take such a powerful stance literally and politically and follows her gaze over to the only other person showing emotion in the room, Trump. Trump’s posture is slightly informal compared to the rest of the men to his sides, slouched, but also defensive, his facial expression displaying disgust, confusion, and anguish. By seeing Trump in the photo, the focus on Pelosi has slightly stripped away, the tone of female empowerment becoming one of a political warzone, a darker message lying in the subtext.
It is because of this tone shift that Trump went on the defensive in his tweet. Trump felt infuriated being talked down to by Pelosi, and Donald Trump, a powerful man, hates to be talked down to by anyone, especially by a woman. To get ahead of the negative image, and combat his feelings of rage, defeat, and impotency, Trump declared on a national platform that the speaker of the house, one of the most powerful women in the nation, was “nervous” and was having an “unhinged meltdown.” Trump did this on his Twitter because he knew that behind his screen, he is most powerful. When Trump feels powerless, especially at the hands of a woman, he seeks out a place where he can dominate, which is behind the security of a screen and targeted towards his millions of followers. His target audience is all very radical conservatives, who hate Pelosi and the Democratic party. Trump sent this tweet to his many extremist followers because he knew that they would agree with his personal and political public humiliation of Pelosi. Trump with his degrading online personality uses mob mentality to get his target audience to support his narratives whether they are true or not, which is evident with the many thousand likes and retweets the photo received. By sharing this photo with the misogynistic caption, Trump was able to make himself feel in control and attempted to reclaim power in a situation where he felt weak.
It is clear that as Trump uses absurd, demeaning language on his own personal twitter to attack others, he is trying to create a facade of power as he slowly loses the grip on his presidency due to his incompetence, stubbornness, brashness, and arrogance. The tweet is not a showdown, but it is a meltdown, but not one on Nancy Pelosi’s part. Pelosi has to be the adult in the situation and literally stand up to the bully who is acting childish, and who no one else in the room is brave enough to stand up to. And what better way to get back at the mature adult putting you in your place than jumping on social media and trying to make her look like the crazy one.
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