It might have been House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s news conference, but it was Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters who stole the show.
A 15-second clip of Pelosi speaking at the Summit of the Americas conference in Los Angeles on Friday — with the congresswoman from California standing nearly motionless behind her — went viral on Tuesday.
In the clip, Waters stared straight into the camera, expressionless. She appeared to be totally disengaged from what the speaker was saying.
At the 11-second mark, she blinked and averted her gaze from the camera.
What’s wrong with Mad Maxine 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/d5btZZtn6j
— Real Mac Report (@RealMacReport) June 14, 2022
The clip was taken from a 34-minute video in which each member of the Democratic congressional delegation said a few words.
When Waters was introduced, she read from a prepared statement for two minutes, and nothing seemed amiss.
Still, the shorter clip understandably drew an outsize response on social media.
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) June 14, 2022
🐸🤔 Is it just me or do both of these treasonous, corrupt politicians Pelosi and Maxine Waters look like fakes, masked doubles, clones or whatever the heck they are. They’re definitely not themselves. It’s so obvious to me. They’re kind of frightening to look at.🍿 pic.twitter.com/QGa5jUJLGr
— Scott Kirker (@Skirker86) June 15, 2022
— Edward (@edwardrussl) June 14, 2022
What’s going on with Maxine here? Is she wearing a mask? pic.twitter.com/3r2a7dB6a9
— janetlouisa (@jtayloranon) June 15, 2022
Something’s definitely a bit off there with Mad Maxine H20s! pic.twitter.com/9BGnuftIhE
— Lenny Dykstra (@LennyDykstra) June 14, 2022
WTH is wrong with Mad Maxine –
Pay attention not everyone is Real or they malfunction like Maxine 🤣🤣👇👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/qbhq7kkTfh
— 🇺🇸 𝒦𝓇𝒾𝓈 💋 (@SazzyCowgirl1) June 14, 2022
At any rate, Waters’ demeanor sure was peculiar.
What was going on with the congresswoman?
KCBS-TV reported Tuesday morning that she had tested positive for COVID-19. She might have been feeling the onset of the virus four days earlier.
Or perhaps Waters, who will turn 84 this summer, was simply exhausted. What octagenarian wouldn’t be tired after attending a large political conference that required a trip across the country?
Which raises the question: Why are there so many octogenarians serving in Congress, particularly in positions of leadership?
Pelosi is 82. Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, celebrated his 83rd birthday on Tuesday, and the majority whip, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, will turn 82 next month.
The oldest Democratic representatives include Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, 86, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, 85, and Grace Napolitano of California, 85.
The oldest Republican serving in the House is Hal Rogers of Kentucky, age 84.
On the Senate side, Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California will turn 89 next week. Among Republicans, the oldest members include Chuck Grassley of Iowa, 88, Richard Shelby of Alabama, 87, and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, 87.
In comparison, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky seems a spring chicken at 80.
President Joe Biden will turn 80 in November, but he has given many indications he is no longer fit to lead the country.
While the viral clip of Waters was singled out for how strange it was, the ability of these octogenarians to serve the country effectively is a legitimate question.
Should there be a maximum age limit for members of Congress?
According to a YouGov poll released in January, the majority of Americans think so.
How about you?
CORRECTION, June 15, 2022: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect reference to the state Sen. Chuck Grassley represents.
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