During Impassioned Defense of Trump, Congressman’s 6-Year-Old Steals the Spotlight

During Impassioned Defense of Trump, Congressman’s 6-Year-Old Steals the Spotlight

Fresh back from a weeklong recess, Representative John W. Rose, Republican of Tennessee, was fired up and among the first to speak on the House floor on Monday, when he used his five minutes of floor time to castigate the criminal conviction of former President Donald J. Trump.

But the most memorable part of his earnest speech was not Mr. Rose’s words. Rather, a sideshow was unfolding behind him in the chamber entirely without his knowledge, courtesy of his young son, who put on a scene of silliness that quickly took off on social media, where dozens of viewers began circulating video of the shenanigans.

As Mr. Rose intoned the familiar lines of attack that rank-and-file Republicans have recited during television appearances and social media posts in the days since Mr. Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts, entering them into the Congressional Record, his son Guy, age 6, was putting on a performance of his own.

Seated directly behind his father and well within the frame of the C-SPAN cameras that record every moment the House is in session, the young Mr. Rose pantomimed and mugged, rolled his eyes and stuck his tongue out, and generally hammed it up in a display that is likely to be remembered longer than any of his father’s words.

It began normally enough.

“I rise today to address the terrible precedent set in our country four days ago, using the justice system to engage in a politically driven prosecution and now conviction of a major political party nominee running for president, especially on the charges brought against Donald Trump — should gravely concern every member of this body, as well as every American across our country,” Mr. Rose said as his son sat quietly behind his father.

But then young Guy appeared to notice the position of a television camera pointed in his direction, and began to have a little fun. It started with an earnest smile. Then a slight adjustment in his seat to guarantee full-frame exposure behind his father.

“Regardless of one’s opinion of the current Republican nominee, we’d be well served to remember the long and cherished tradition we have in this country of settling our political differences at the ballot box for nearly two and a half centuries,” the congressman continued.

As the speech rose in a crescendo, Guy amped up his facial high jinks. There was a roll of the eyes and classic tongue-out expression familiar to any parent of a grade-school-age boy.

“As an attorney, I can tell you that May 30 will be among the more infamous dates in American history,” Mr. Rose passionately continued at the microphone, completely unaware of what his son was doing behind him to ensure that June 3, too, would be a notable date in history for a small group of C-SPAN viewers.

After a few minutes of funny faces and chaotic hand gestures, the younger Mr. Rose added a prop to his performance, reaching for a stress ball he had in his pocket.

“Last Friday’s verdict was clearly the result of a prosecution in search of a crime,” Mr. Rose said as the filled rubber ball flailed about behind him.

Just as quickly as they had started, both the speech and the accompanying performance of facial contortions were over. But it didn’t take long for Mr. Rose to discover, after a quick look at social media, that his son had stolen the spotlight.

“This is what I get,” he wrote in a post of his own, “for telling my son Guy to smile at the camera for his little brother.”

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