By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published January 21, 2020
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg elicited a moment of awkward silence during a campaign event in Iowa that's sparking comparisons to another viral moment during the 2016 election cycle.
While several of his 2020 rivals -- including Sens. Bernie Sanders from Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota -- are stuck in Washington, D.C., serving as jurors in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, Buttigieg was seizing the opportunity to get face-to-face time with Iowa voters.
"By having better hands guided by better values on those pulleys and levers of American government," Buttigieg told the crowd. "So I'm going to look to you to spread that sense of hope to those that you know."
The candidate took a brief pause, which was met with complete silence by attendees.
"Come on!" Buttigieg exclaimed and awkwardly chuckled, to which the crowd applauded.
The moment has sparked comparisons to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who memorably urged his supporters to "please clap" at a campaign event during the 2016 election.
"I really hope we get a 'please clap' moment every four years. Just beautiful," Washington Examiner writer Siraj Hashmi tweeted on Tuesday.
"Wow, Hollywood is *so* out of new ideas they even rebooted 'Please clap,'" screenwriter Eric Haywood quipped.
Klobuchar had a "please clap" moment last year when she had boasted that in each of her elections, she won every congressional district in her state, including that of former Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican.
After the audience didn’t react to her victories, Klobuchar gave them permission to be excited.
“It’s when you guys are supposed to cheer, okay?” Klobuchar grinned, which prompted applause and some laughter.
Back in February 2016, then-GOP candidate Jeb Bush unwittingly became a political trendsetter at a campaign event in New Hampshire.
"I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter but send a signal that we're prepared to act in the national security interest of this country, to get back into the business of a more peaceful world," Bush passionately said, subtly swiping at then-Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
However, like Buttigieg and Klobuchar, the former governor faced a lengthy silence from the crowd.
"Please clap," Bush pleaded, which prompted applause and some cheers.