• Nancy Pelosi claps back. On Tuesday night, Democrat Stacey Abrams navigated what is perhaps the hardest 10-minute job in Washington: delivering the official response to the State of the Union.
She dodged any visual mishaps that befell her predecessors (over-moisturized lips in 2018, awkward thirst-quenching in 2013) and clearly communicated Democrats’ agenda. The first-ever black woman to assume the role, Abrams touched on lowering health care costs and passing a more inclusive immigration policy. She also pressed an issue she holds especially close: voting access.
“This is the next battle for our democracy, one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country,” she said. Her message, sprinkled with personal anecdotes, will only feed speculation that she’s eyeing her next election—a 2020 Senate run.
But even before Abrams formally responded to President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued her own impromptu feedback, making the most of her reclaimed seat behind the president—one that’s well within the camera shot.
At times during Trump’s address, Pelosi grimaced, shook her head, and smirked. When Trump said that only “politics or ridiculous partisan investigations” could slow the economy, she visibly scoffed. And then there was the meme-ified moment when Pelosi clapped—arms outstretched toward the president, perhaps to indicate sarcasm—as Trump urged lawmakers to “reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.” Yes, from this time forward, Nancy Pelosi’s “clap-back” will be part of Internet lore.
Pelosi issued her body language rebukes dressed in all white, like the rest of her female colleagues from the House. The tradition honors suffragettes, but the practice sent an even starker visual message this year since the sea of white reflected Democrats’ electoral gains, especially those by women candidates.
The female Democrats were largely unmoved by Trump’s speech, but there was a moment when they roared. “Exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before,” Trump said. “That’s great. Really great. And congratulations.”
The remark was met with cheers and high-fives among the white-wearers, along with one audible, “Thank you, Nancy!”
It seems for a moment, at least, the president couldn’t ignore the female presence in front of him—or the one behind him either.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• All about Apple. Angela Ahrendts, No. 12 on Fortune‘s MPW list, is leaving Apple after leading its retail and online stores for five years. The one-time Burberry CEO, who joined Apple in 2015, will be replaced by Deirdre O’Brien; she’ll assume the new retail responsibilities on top of her existing role as Apple’s head of people. Apple says Ahrendts “plans to depart Apple in April for new personal and professional pursuits.”
• A Prime gig. Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer is joining Amazon as a director, making her the fourth woman and first African American on the board. Her appointment follows a campaign by Amazon employees last spring that urged company management to officially embrace a policy of adding more diversity to its BOD.
• Mr. President, again. For all the speculation that Trump would nominate a woman to lead the World Bank—Indra Nooyi, Dina Powell, and Heidi Cruz were all reportedly in the running—he’s expected today to tap…David Malpass, a Treasury official who, you’ll note, is not a woman. A woman president would’ve been a first for the 74-year-old institution.
• Loser take all. They say history is written by the winners. Well, not in this case. In an exclusive excerpt of her new book Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder, Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani recalls taking the “unthinkable” step of running for U.S. Congress in 2010 at age 33, having never been elected before, and challenging an incumbent, no less. “I didn’t just lose; I got clobbered,” she writes. Still, the story’s worth telling: “It was the first time in my entire adult life that I had done something truly brave.”
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: American Express Global Business Travel has appointed Patricia Huska as its chief people officer. Axios has hired Jess Szmajda as its new chief technology officer, making her the first female transgender CTO of a prominent media company.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Not so Nobel? Former Costa Rica President Óscar Arias Sánchez, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for brokering an end to civil wars in Central America, has been stung by the #MeToo movement. One accuser, a nuclear disarmament activist named Alexandra Arce von Herold, says Arias sexually assaulted her in late 2014. The former president has denied the allegations and vowed to defend himself in court. A second accuser came forward late Tuesday.
New York Times
• Park it. It’s the theme park no one asked for. And yet. America’s Next Top Model creator and former Victoria’s Secret model Tyra Banks is launching Modelland. The venture, opening in a Santa Monica shopping mall in 2019, will be “a 21,000-square-foot, ticketed attraction creating a fantasy version of the modeling world to let visitors ‘be the dream version of themselves’ through interactive entertainment, curated retail and user-generated content that can be shared,” according to WWD, which spoke to Banks about the project.
• At your service. Soleil Ho is the San Francisco Chronicle‘s new restaurant critic, having replaced Michael Bauer, who spent more than three decades in the role. Ho is one of several critics reshaping the beat, and she’s pushing back against the notion that food writers should just stick to writing about food: “Readers of food writing have become more diverse and politically savvy, and the cadre of critics must shift to match them.”