Jill Biden had to prod audience to clap during speech after expected applause line fell flat

 May 26, 2023

Politicians occasionally learn the hard way that the carefully scripted remarks that are written for them by speechwriters don't always land as intended with audiences and don't always result in anticipated applause.

First Lady Jill Biden experienced one such awkward moment on Thursday when she had to jokingly remind an audience she was addressing that they were supposed to have clapped for something she had just said, according to Fox News.

She was delivering a speech in Washington D.C. at the annual Ronald Reagan Institute Summit on Education.

"I thought you might clap for that"

Near the beginning of her remarks, first lady Biden said, "As I’ve traveled the country, I’ve visited red states and blue states. And I’ve found that the common values that unite us are deeper than our divisions."

Per a video clip of the moment, she then paused for a second and clasped her hands together expectantly, but after receiving no reaction whatsoever from the crowd, added, "And, um, I thought you might clap for that," which prompted a belated round of applause and laughter.

Interestingly enough, the White House transcript of Biden's speech failed to include that ad-libbed line about clapping and instead simply continued on with the remarks as prepared for her.

Not the first time for Jill

The New York Post reported on what occurred and noted that a similarly awkward moment had also happened with then-former second lady Biden while campaigning in Iowa in December 2019 on behalf of her husband, then-former Vice President Joe Biden.

While drawing repeated contrasts on what things would be like if Joe Biden were the president instead of then-President Donald Trump, she said, "Finally, someone is standing up to the NRA and keeping our children and our schools safe."

After getting no reaction from the small crowd, a seemingly exasperated Biden threw out her arms and exclaimed, "That’s my applause line, come on!"

Reminiscent of Jeb Bush's "Please clap" moment

Both Fox News and the Post compared first lady Biden's incident on Thursday to the even more cringeworthy moment during the 2016 election when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush begged an audience to clap after they failed to react to a passionate diatribe that was aimed at disparaging then-candidate Trump.

"I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter but send a signal that we're prepared to act in the national security interest of this country, to get back into the business of a more peaceful world," Bush said, then dejectedly added after a second or two of silence, "Please clap."

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