There were several moments of sustained silence as the frowning leaders of the United States, sitting stiffly and surrounded by cameras, waited for a very important meeting to start.

That would be the least awkward part of the heated exchange that followed between Chuck Schumer, the US Senate Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, and Donald Trump – in which the president said he would be proud to shut down the government over his demands for a border wall.

The most awkward part was the vice-president, Mike Pence, who, it seemed, did not want to be there. There was some blinking and maybe some thinking. But mostly, there was a whole lot of sitting and even more staring.

The internet was quick to poke fun at his statue-like pose and blank expression. Memes began to spread and by Tuesday afternoon, “Mike Pence” was trending on Twitter.

(@StevenBeschloss)

Prior to this meeting, Madame Tussaud’s rolled in this Mike Pence wax…