Before releasing the redacted Mueller report to Congress and the world, Attorney General William Barr held a news conference to share his thoughts on an overview of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s report, which took two years to research and write.
But many people were distracted by the demeanor of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was standing behind Barr, seemingly frozen and expressionless, says The Cut. Rosenstein’s eyes didn’t appear to blink or change his facial expression, causing Twitter to erupt with posts asking if Rosenstein had either been replaced with a wax figure of himself, or perhaps he was being held hostage at the Department of Justice.
Lisa Ryan, a writer for The Cut wondered if Rosenstein was all right or perhaps in shock.
“So, uh, should someone go check on this guy?”
Rosenstein, who started his work in the Trump administration as number two to Attorney General Jeff Sessions has had a hot and cold relationship with the president, living under a cloud after it was rumored that he was going to wear a wire in order to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Ryan pondered what Rosenstein’s expression at the news conference was saying to viewers.
“As Barr spoke — giving his interpretation of the Mueller report — it was hard to notice anything other than Rosenstein’s eyes, which almost seemed like those of a broken android, designed to look human but momentarily stalled in the ‘open’ position.”
People are trying to analyze Rod Rosenstein's expression during Barr's press conference https://t.co/ElfaKNzISC
— @feistsheindlin (@feistsheindlin1) April 20, 2019
The reaction to Rosenstein’s imitation of a statue raised several reactions on Twitter, ranging from sarcasm to concern. Philip Bump, a writer for The Washington Post, suggested turning Rosenstein’s visage into the lamest drinking game of all time.
“I did a shot each time Rod Rosenstein moved any individual muscle and I’ve never been more sober.”
Someone on Twitter even started an account called “Rod Rosenstein’s Eyes” to suggest what the Deputy Attorney General was thinking during the news conference.
“Hostage to doj. Is my soul now with Chris Christie’s?
David Axelrod, a consultant for CNN, was one of many journalists who was distracted by Rosenstein.
“This may not be the main point but why doesn’t Rod Rosenstein ever blink?”
For months it has been rumored that Rosenstein was on the verge of leaving the Department of Justice, but for now, he is still around, reportedly at the behest of Barr. But during the news conference about the Mueller report, he looked like he wished he was anywhere else.
Some people on Twitter said they couldn’t help but stare back, trying to discern if Rosenstein was trying to blink a message using Morse code.
“Rod Rosenstein looks like he’s trying to blink out morse code — h e l p m e.”