While Carter was speaking in front of them, Biden put his hands on Mrs. Carter’s shoulders, leaned over and whispered something in her ear. The moment was captured in a photo and Twitter users, as usual, noticed.
Coons later said Biden was simply whispering words of encouragement to Maggie, who was visibly uncomfortable during most of the photo op.
Sure, touching and whispering to people in public can appear to be a uniquely awkward experience, not only for those involved, but for those watching it unfold, particularly if they’re is watching for no longer than the few seconds of a Vine or GIF.
In this case, Biden said at the ceremony today he has known Ash Carter for years and, it doesn’t appear entirely obvious that he makes Stephanie Carter uncomfortable.
In fact, she nods her head in agreement after Biden talks to her. If you watch for more than a Vine’s-length, the ceremony goes on normally after the whisper seen ’round the web.
Later on Tuesday, another Bidenism was born, but to much less web acclaim than his earlier GIF-friendly gaffe.