On Tuesday, a congressional hearing on the rise of white nationalism and hate crimes in America inspired a particularly striking moment — one which soon went viral in a number of directions. Following his tense exchange with conservative commentator Candace Owens, thousands of tweets about Rep. Ted Lieu and his phone flooded the internet. Some of those tweets directly acknowledged the severity of the situation. Others, however, simply related to the moment and opted to use it as prime meme material.
The moment occurred when Lieu pulled his phone out and played a clip of Owens justifying the word "nationalism" by using a Hitler analogy, letting the video reverberate into the mic. The audio clip in question was taken from a conference in 2018 in the UK that Owens attended, where she said,
I actually don't have any problems at all with the word nationalism. I think the definition gets poisoned. Globalism is what I don't want. If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German.
Following the moment, Owens soon insisted that Lieu had taken her words out of context. However, the image of Lieu holding his phone to the mic looking anything but pleased was immediate internet gold.
Here are some of the best tweets that used the photo of Lieu as a metaphor for any number of work-life, social, or political struggles:
This 'Real Housewives' Comparison
A congressional meeting on white nationalism and hate crimes is incomparably more significant than a reality show, to be sure. But at the same time — you have to admit he's mastered the expression.
A "Big Mood"
This moment might have called to mind another pretty famous receipt situation from a while back for some Twitter users. Let's be real: this is the probably the biggest similarity Lieu might ever share with Kim Kardashian.
"My Professional Patronus"
If calling out conservatives for their rhetoric is a guiding light, then Lieu just might be your Patronus. Whether or not he can help Americans through their most boring staff meetings is up to debate.
Lieu's facial expression might just represent just how unbothered you wish you could be in all aspects of your life. After all, there's nothing better than feeling straight-up impenetrable.
The One Where "Old Town Road" Was Dragged Into The Mix
Given how popular the "Old Town Road" remix has been in the last week, it's no surprise that at least one person brought the modern country song into the mix. Plus, how great would it be if Lieu had actually played this song in a congressional hearing?
"Emotional State Since November Of 2016"
When your persistent emotional state is flat-out disillusionment, exhaustion, or resentment of the last few years, in their entirety, Lieu might be your spirit animal. Let's be real: it's been a very long two-plus years.
Following the hearing, Lieu took to Twitter to double down on his decision to air Owens' comments, writing in one tweet, "Candace Owens clearly stated the following: 'If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany.' Those are her own words."
Later, Lieu also responded to a tweet that confirmed he was trending on Twitter. He wrote, "My life is now complete."