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#MemeOfTheWeek: John Boehner Cries, The Internet Laughs

House Speaker John Boehner wipes his eyes as he listens to Pope Francis address a joint meeting of Congress Thursday.
House Speaker John Boehner wipes his eyes as he listens to Pope Francis address a joint meeting of Congress Thursday.

There's getting a little choked up. There's shedding a few tears. There's full-on crying. And then, there's John Boehner, American politics' crier-in-chief.

This week, (soon to be former) Speaker of the House Boehner's tear ducts stole the show yet again, definitely upstaging the Pope's little black Fiat and newly-named baby panda Bei Bei to become our #MemeOfTheWeek.

So, what happened?

Well, Pope Francis made a visit to the U.S. this week, and on Thursday, John Boehner arranged for him to make an address before a joint meeting of Congress. Boehner (a devout Catholic), didn't disappoint with the tears. And a lot of the Internet thought it was funny.

Even Evita/Madonna got involved (turn the sound on for this one):

The tears even extended through Friday, when the speaker abruptly announced his resignation:

Of course, there's a history of Boehner crying. According to Politico, he's done it "during a tribute to golf legend Arnold Palmer, while listening to Irish music on St. Patrick's Day (Boehner is of German ancestry) and while singing "America the Beautiful," among other occasions." Of course he cried when he became Speaker of the House. NBC Philadelphia says Boehner's choked up at an unveiling of a Rosa Parks statue, during an event honoring the painter Constantino Brumidi.

But not everyone thought mocking Boehner for expressing his emotions was the right thing to do:

But, in the end, even Boehner was kind of in on the joke:

So hats off to you this week, Mr. Speaker. You got the Pope to the Capitol, you're about to get a lot more time to golf, you won the #MemeOfTheWeek, and you were a good sport about it all.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sam worked at Vermont Public Radio from October 1978 to September 2017 in various capacities – almost always involving audio engineering. He excels at sound engineering for live performances.
Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.