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Everyone knows that Washington, D.C., is a bubble that can separate our representatives in Congress from the lives of everyday Americans. And House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) just proved how real that disconnect can be.
During a Washington event hosted by Axios founder Mike Allen on Wednesday, Ryan admitted that he just discovered GIFs.
Allen mentioned that Ryan is “known for texting” members of Congress and recently added a new feature to his messages.
“Yeah, yeah, you’re talking about GIFs or Giphys—what are these things called? GIFs?” Ryan said. “Yeah… these things are awesome. I learned about this like three weeks ago.”
Ryan identified one “old school” GIF—“Stifler” (actor Seann William Scott) in a mullet doing a thumbs-up—and another one of Britney Spears doing a thumbs-up as two examples of his GIF style. “I send GIFs to people who really don’t expect it from me,” Ryan said. “It’s just kind of fun to watch their reaction.”
Of course, just discovering GIFs is not the only evidence we have that Ryan may be out of touch with voters. The Ryan-led American Healthcare Act (AHCA), which the House passed last month, received support of just 25 percent of Americans, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released in March. Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare)—key portions of which the AHCA would eliminate—continues to enjoy unprecedented popularity.
Ryan also continues to push back against concerns over President Donald Trump‘s recent actions, particularly those related to his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and the ongoing federal investigations into Russia and its potential ties to the Trump campaign. A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the appointment of a special prosecutor for the Russia investigation.
But hey, learning that GIFs have become a major medium of communication in the 21st century is at least a start.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.