Key moments: State of the Union 2022
The Independent

US president Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address to Congress - but it isn’t Biden’s words that have chins wagging.

Instead, a strange hand gesture from house speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to have raised eyebrows.

On Tuesday, Biden spoke of the situation in Ukraine as well as domestic issues such as job creation, the nation’s Covid-19 response, and infrastructure. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert heckled him throughout the speech.

As he delivered his unity agenda for the nation, one of the key points was support for veterans.

He said his administration is providing assistance with job training and housing and is also helping lower-income veterans get VA care debt-free.

He went on to speak of the dangers troops in Iraq and Afghanistan faced, including living near “burn pits” where wastes of war - medical and hazard material, jet fuel, and more - were incinerated.

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He continued: “When they came home, many of the world’s fittest and best trained warriors were never the same. Headaches, numbness, dizziness. A cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin. I know.

“One of those soldiers was my son Major Beau Biden.

“We don’t know for sure if a burn pit… was the cause of his brain cancer, or the diseases of so many of our troops. But I’m committed to finding out everything we can.”

As he spoke about burn pits, Pelosi put her hands together as though she was initially going to clap but then thought better of it.

Committing to the motion, she rubbed her knuckles together and stood up while keeping her eyes on Biden.

The camera cut away to defence secretary Denis McDonough momentarily, and when it went back to Biden Pelosi was seated - but still had her hands together.

She kept them together for a few moments, before lowering them altogether.

The motion didn’t go unnoticed by social media.

Digital strategist Greg Price retweeted the clip and wrote: “What the hell is this reaction from Nancy Pelosi to Biden talking about soldiers breathing in toxic smoke from burn pits.”

Rep. Jim Banks said: “So weird…”


“Is Pelosi good?” Abigail Marone asked.



Some people joked about it, and imagined it was a reaction gif.

Grant Addison joked: “When I see the brownies about to come out of the oven.”


Siraj Hashmi wrote: “*plastic wrapper crumples* my dog:”

This isn’t the first time Pelosi has grabbed headlines during State of the Union addresses. In 2020, Pelosi ripped up Trump’s speech.

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