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Who is Mayra Joli? Black woman nodding behind Trump at Miami town hall is beauty queen who ran for Congress

As soon as she was labeled 'paid cheerleader' online, her pictures with Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the president's administration flooded Twitter
UPDATED OCT 16, 2020

Anyone who turned into President Donald Trump's town hall on NBC News on Thursday, October 15, noticed a woman sitting behind him who kept nodding her head in agreement with almost everything the president said. It was clear that she was pretty much a decided voter as she was also seen shaking her head in disapproval when Savannah Guthrie challenged the president. She even seemed to give Trump a thumbs-up near the end of the event.

The nodding lady was identified by a Miami Herald reporter as Mayra Joli, an immigration lawyer, and a five-time beauty queen. As expected, she was a Trump supporter who ran as an independent for Congress in Miami in 2018. 


As soon as she was identified by people online, her pictures with Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the president's administration and campaign flooded on Twitter. "The nodding woman behind Trump last night, Mayra Joli," one of them captioned a bunch of photos. "Mayra Joli, a Trump supporter, nodded during Miami town hall | Miami Herald #nodding #trumpStooge"  captioned another. 



Quickly enough, Joli was branded a "paid cheerleader" by the internet as people suggested that she had been given money by the Trump campaign to strategically position herself in the crowd so that the cameras could pick her gestures. "Exactly what I was thinking. They had multiple cameras on Trump. The producers chose to keep showing that angle so his paid cheerleader could be part of the spectacle," one user said, while another noted, "Wife insisted we record and watch both. Biden acted like an adult and my only criticism is that I think he's a little overoptimistic about GOP cooperation. Got bored with chest-beating by Trump and instead studied the impressive chest of the paid cheerleader behind him." 

A third commented, "How much Trump paid that black ladies behind him?? Ladies loom like a cheerleader, super fake!!" And someone else wrote, "I figure the ones who are seated behind him are recruited & paid cheerleaders. I noticed recently they all wear masks now—to protect trump or hawk the merch??"





There were also a number of other reactions slamming Joli's conduct. "Oh so that was you nodding your head agreeing with all of Trumps lies at the debate tonight? Hmm Trump supporters are all so disgustingly evil and pathetic. Biden will win and We won’t have to see or hear Trump again," one remarked while another opined, "You embarrassed yourself tonight in front of the nation and to be honest, I was embarrassed for you. You are the epitome of a sheep, a sheep with a sore neck that is."

Someone else said, "Why did NBC let someone who was an obvious partisan sit within camera view for the full 60 mins?" And another quipped, "Omg you ridiculous clown  You made a fool of yourself on national television!" One other user wrote, "Same. This woman is nodding at things before he’s even finished his thought. It’s a psychological trick and I cannot believe no producer, no camera person, NO ONE is stopping it"