On Tuesday night, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) crowded around one podium to offer the Democratic Party's rebuttal to President Donald Trump's prime-time address concerning the government shutdown and his proposed border wall. In his speech, Trump reiterated his claims that the "thousands of illegal immigrants" entering the U.S. every day are hurting the economy, bringing heroin with them, and "[driving] down jobs and wages," and that his $5.7 billion border wall "would very quickly pay for itself"—claims that were swiftly called into question and labeled only partly true, if at all, by various fact-checking efforts.
In response, Pelosi and Schumer directed their focus mainly toward bringing an end to the "senseless" ongoing government shutdown, and offered their own fact-checking of Trump's border security–related claims. "The fact is, President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety, and well-being of the American people, and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation, many of them veterans," Pelosi said. Schumer added: "American democracy doesn't work that way. We don't govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage." He concluded, "The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30 foot wall. So our suggestion is a simple one: Mr. President, reopen the government, and we can work to resolve our differences over border security. But end this shutdown now."
Wherever you land on the political spectrum, there's no denying that Schumer and Pelosi's stern rebuttal to Trump channeled the feeling of two parents standing side by side and chastising their troublemaking teen—a comparison that was made many times over in the flood of memes the Democratic response sparked online.
Elsewhere in this deluge were approximately one billion tweets likening the disapproving duo to Grant Wood's 1930 artwork American Gothic, as well as only slightly less repetitive comparisons to The Scooby-Doo Show villains, Madame Tussauds's wax figures, those ubiquitous AAG reverse mortgage commercials, and SNL's Bobbie and Marty Culp. Pelosi and Schumer were also offered up as prospective Oscars hosts, and as is her wont, the Fiji Water girl from the Golden Globes somehow snuck into the background of the speech.