The curse of the hot mic returns to Mexico.
Just a few short months after Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam lit up global social media by ending a press conference on the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa with the phrase “Ya me cansé” (“I’m tired”), Mexico’s embattled president Enrique Peña Nieto has his very own controversial catchphrase.
At the end of a press conference in Los Pinos, the presidential residence, during which he announced new measures to improve transparency and combat corruption in the government, as well as introduced Virgilio Andrade Martínez as the new Secretary of Public Administration, Peña Nieto thanked the assembled reporters in the audience and stepped away from the podium.
Almost immediately, perhaps in response to the silence that greeted his speech, the president muttered “Ya sé que no aplauden” (“I know you won’t applaud”) — an aside that was picked up and broadcast by the microphone pinned to his chest, still very much on.
Many watching wondered why Peña Nieto expected a round of applause — after all, press conferences are typically given to cynical members of the media, not adoring political supporters. Though Andrade has been appointed to head up an investigation into corruption allegations and potential conflicts of interest in awarding of government contracts, few in Mexico seem to believe that anything substantial will come of the probe.
This newest gaffe comes in the midst of a very difficult few months for Peña Nieto, who has faced accusations of corruption and rising calls for his resignation since the disappearance of the 43 students in September 2014. Things only got worse with the revelation of millions of dollars worth of contracts awarded and close ties with various construction companies, including the one that built a $7 million house belonging to Peña Nieto’s wife, television star Angélica Rivera, and another home belonging to the country’s finance secretary.
Predictably, Twitter and other social media channels in Mexico seized on the moment, just as they did with #YaMeCansé, which became a rallying cry for anti-government protesters in the wake of the student disappearances. Some used #YaSéQueNoAplauden to question exactly why the Mexican government seems to have such an issue understanding the concept of a live microphone or to mock the president’s concern about applause in the midst of such national turbulence, while others simply took advantage of the moment to show off some meme art.
— John Holman (@mexicorrespond) February 4, 2015
— Patricio (@Patriciomonero) February 3, 2015
#YaSeQueNoAplauden is the new #YaMeCansé. Why are these from the PRI [political party] so prolific at generating hashtags?
— Erik (@Popochafuzz) February 4, 2015
“You, applaud me!”
“I would applaud but… I’m tired.” A photo of Attorney General Murillo Karam and his now-infamous phrase.