- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up pages of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address immediately after he concluded his speech Tuesday night.
- That came after Trump appeared to reject a handshake from Pelosi before his speech.
- The open contempt between the two came nearly two months after Pelosi spearheaded Trump’s impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
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At the end of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy of his speech and tossed it aside as the president left the lectern to applause from the chamber.
The stunning rebuke from Pelosi came after Trump appeared to snub the House speaker when she attempted to shake his hand before his speech.
The open displays of contempt exhibited by the two leaders came nearly two months after Pelosi spearheaded Trump’s impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
As she exited the chamber Tuesday, Pelosi told reporters that she ripped up the speech because “it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives.”
The Politico editor Blake Hounshell reported Tuesday night that Pelosi’s dramatic move wasn’t planned.
— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) February 5, 2020
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on why she ripped up President Trump’s speech: “Because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives.” pic.twitter.com/nYTjAZAwGo
— Jason Donner (@jason_donner) February 5, 2020
The White House quickly condemned Pelosi’s move, writing in a tweet that the speaker disrespected all the Americans honoured in Trump’s speech.
Speaker Pelosi just ripped up:
One of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
The survival of a child born at 21 weeks.
The mourning families of Rocky Jones and Kayla Mueller.
A service member's reunion with his family.
That's her legacy.
— The White House 45 Archived (@WhiteHouse45) February 5, 2020
Pelosi quickly responded to the criticism with a photo that appeared to show Trump refusing to shake her hand.
Democrats will never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done #ForThePeople. We will work to find common ground where we can, but will stand our ground where we cannot. #SOTU pic.twitter.com/ELJqR9q4xD
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 5, 2020
The night was punctuated by a few apparent moments of tension between Pelosi and Trump.
Immediately before Trump began his address, Pelosi reached out to shake the president’s hand but was snubbed as Trump turned away without a greeting. She looked surprised and bemused for a moment afterward.
She then broke tradition by introducing Trump only as the “president of the United States,” forgoing the customary phrase that she had the “high privilege and distinct honour” of introducing him.
Some of the same dynamics were on display during last year’s State of the Union address.
A photograph of Pelosi smirking and exaggeratedly applauding Trump during his 2019 State of the Union address went viral at the time. Many – led by social-media pundits – interpreted the moment as emblematic of their difficult relationship.
After Pelosi opened an impeachment inquiry into Trump in late September, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on the two impeachment articles on December 18.
The two leaders, who have openly clashed in public multiple times since Pelosi assumed the speakership in January 2019, hadn’t spoken since October before encountering each other in the House chamber for Trump’s speech.
Throughout the speech, Pelosi’s official Twitter account posted a steady stream of attacks and broadsides on the president and his record, including calling him “a liar” and sniping at Trump for taking credit for the negotiation of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal without acknowledging Pelosi’s work on it.
What Trump meant to say is that under Nancy's leadership, Democrats rewrote & passed an improved economic trade agreement that contains the strongest enforcement mechanisms – securing pivotal victories for workers, lower prescription drug costs & environmental protections. #SOTU
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) February 5, 2020
- Read more:
- Trump snubbed Pelosi as she tried to shake his hand before his State of the Union address – nearly 2 months after the House impeached him
- Nancy Pelosi broke tradition when introducing Trump at the State of the Union, leaving out the words ‘honour’ and ‘privilege’
- Democratic women are wearing white to Trump’s State of the Union address as a shout-out to the women’s suffrage movement