The focus may have been on what President Joe Biden had to say heading into the State of the Union address, but the eyebrow-raising had begun even before he entered the room, in part thanks to how First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff greeted each other.
The customary glad-handing and jockeying for position to get seen on camera to send the preferred political message was nothing new Tuesday night before Biden was introduced to give his second SOTU since taking office. However, what stood out and got people asking “is this normal?” was how the executive spouses appeared to exchange a momentary kiss on the lips when the first lady made her entrance to sit beside Emhoff.
As she made her way through the viewing gallery to a standing ovation, Jill reached her hand toward Emhoff’s for a shake before stepping in to plant some sugar on the way to her seat.
The affectionate display was almost enough to distract from the rather dismissive way in which the first lady had briefly greeted 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Ruth Cohen, a guest to Emhoff, which itself would have been of little note had she not proceeded to enthusiastically shake the hand of celebrity activist Bono after her smooch.
It didn’t take long before the moment went viral with many on social media reacting with disgust and confusion.
This #SOTU is already getting real bizarre. They forgot who their spouses were for a minute? pic.twitter.com/MYiCFBHdRk
— Jeffery A Dove Jr. (@JefferyADoveJr) February 8, 2023
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) February 8, 2023
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 8, 2023
— LunarKat (@LunarKat7) February 8, 2023
Others took the exchange as an opportunity to point out that COVID really should be a thing of the past.
Well there you have it! The First Lady and Gentlemen have ended the COVID pandemic with a single kiss!
— Mr. Tweet Jr. (@MGySgt78) February 8, 2023
Still more saw the humor in the situation and offered their best memes and GIFs into the mix to take comment on the brief exchange that introduced the notion of a polyamorous White House.
— ProudAmericanHumanWithNoWords (@TraceyTweeter73) February 8, 2023
— Marcella (@marcykey50) February 8, 2023
Jill Biden and Kamala’s husband have decided to take a bathroom break. pic.twitter.com/jQbT1uIavm
— MAZE (@mazemoore) February 8, 2023
Before the evening, many probably didn’t even know who Emhoff was, and he might be reflecting on the kiss longing for that previous public anonymity standing beside the readily forgettable vice presidency of his wife, Vice President Kamala Harris.
In case that wasn’t eye-popping enough, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I), well known for standing apart from her colleagues in the Democratic caucus, truly stood out amidst a crowd of mostly blue and black-suited congressmen in a bright yellow dress with puffed-out ruffles for sleeves that posed, “tell me you’re desperate for attention without telling me you’re desperate for attention.”
Kyrsten Sinema……tell me you’re desperate for attention without telling me you’re desperate for attention. pic.twitter.com/BemgLdX34i
— Jason Rector (@jasonrector) February 8, 2023
The outfit decision certainly made her easy to pick out of a crowd seated beside Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) who may just have stood to applaud Biden’s speech more times than she did (begging other questions like why hasn’t he faced reality and changed his party registration yet).
As such, Sinema found herself at the center of the age-old debate of “who wore it better” as her dress was at once compared to oversized puppets from children’s television shows and prehistoric creatures featured in blockbuster films.
Who wore it best? Kyrsten Sinema or LaLa? #sotu2023 #yellowdress #StateOfTheUnion pic.twitter.com/pcSHuoMtl1
— Jennifer Theut (@sippyt90) February 8, 2023
Kyrsten Sinema seeking attention at the #StateOfTheUnion… pic.twitter.com/Qjc1rlThVg
— Lee Midkiff (@LeeMidkiff1) February 8, 2023
You didn’t say anything about Kyrsten Sinema pic.twitter.com/pi2IqNYkEM
— Captain Antifa (nah, just antifa) (@aaronsama1313) February 8, 2023
Who wore it better? #SOTU23 #KyrstenSinema #GoneWithTheWind pic.twitter.com/ETRxHIJML4
— Social✽Fly (@socflyny) February 8, 2023
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