U.S. first lady Jill Biden visits Namibia


  • The moment was reminiscent of Jeb Bush's speech on the campaign trail in 2016
  • Dr. Biden touted her husband's administration's numerous education reform programs
  • She also said the desire to make a better life for the family unites Americans today

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden awkwardly told the audience Thursday to clap after delivering an applause line but never quite got the reaction she was expecting.

"I've visited red states and blue states, and I've found that the common values that unite us are deeper than our division," Dr. Biden said during a speech at the Reagan Institute Summit on Education (RISE) held in Washington, D.C. before taking a moment to pause and wait for the audience's reaction.

And when the crowd went silent on her, she added, "I thought you might clap for that," drawing laughs and applause.

The moment was reminiscent of former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's speech on the campaign trail in 2016 when he asked the audience in New Hampshire to "please clap" after delivering a line from his stump speech meant to rouse the crowd.

The awkward moment went viral online, and it became a meme that people would use as a reference whenever they encounter highly awkward moments caught on the internet.

The annual conference, per the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute, "hosts education leaders from across the country."

Other speakers at the event include Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore.

"RISE will examine policy and practice from early childhood through postsecondary education and beyond. The imperative for education is even more salient as the United States emerges from the global pandemic," the Reagan Institute said on its website about the conference.

"We must answer the call to modernize our education system and prepare for the challenges of the 22nd century."

Dr. Biden said that despite the political divisions, what currently unites the country and its people is the desire to work hard and establish opportunities for American families to have a good life through perseverance.

"I've seen how a kind word or gesture can relax someone's shoulders just a bit – can open their heart to what you have to say even if we'll never agree," she said.

"I've seen how, despite our differences, most people want the same things: the chance to work hard and build a good life for our families," Dr. Biden added.

She also touted her husband's administration's plans in strengthening the country's infrastructure to provide millions of jobs in growing industries in clean energy and manufacturing, which could prove beneficial to the future of the American workforce.

"That's the Biden education pathway: our nation's next horizon," Dr. Biden said. "This is the future of our workforce–how we grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out."

Dr. Biden also highlighted that the administration's investments in the country's education reform will help Americans "thrive in the jobs of the future" and, in turn, "fundamentally transform what it means to make a living and make a life" in America.

FILE PHOTO - U.S. first lady Jill Biden visits Ecuador