‘A manifesto of mistruths’: Nancy Pelosi became a viral meme after the House speaker tore up the president’s State of the Union speech

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • Nancy Pelosi reigned over social media in the hours after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
  • The annual address began with a snubbed handshake, featured a break with congressional tradition, and ended with a ripped-up speech.
  • Pelosi has gone viral with numerous memes and hashtags both praising and criticising her actions.
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President Donald Trump gave his third State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, but it was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who dominated the conversation afterward, sparking an assortment of hashtags and memes on social media.

The morning after Trump’s annual address – which began with his denying Pelosi a handshake and ended with the president applauding for himself while she tore up a copy of his speech – the House speaker was making waves across Twitter. Hashtags including #NancytheRipper, #NancyPelosiROCKS, #nancyisabadass, #PelosiTantrum, #PettyPelosi, and #PelosiDisgrace had gone viral.

Pelosi also received attention by breaking with congressional tradition and introducing Trump solely as “the president of the United States.” In the past, House speakers had introduced the sitting commander in chief at such events by saying they had the “high privilege and distinct honour of presenting to you the president of the United States.”

In a statement issued on the heels of the State of the Union address, she added: “The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people. The American people expect and deserve a President to have integrity and respect for the aspirations for their children.”

Reporters who approached Pelosi as she departed Capitol Hill asked whether she would invite Trump to another State of the Union address. She replied: “Hopefully not. I’m expecting another president. Nine months from today.”

Some social-media users gave Pelosi kudos for her gumption. The novelist Greg Olear tweeted that she reserved the right to rip up as many speeches as she liked after acting “as the bulwark between our republic & a Trumpist descent into despotism.” Elena Hung, a cofounder of the advocacy group Little Lobbyists, asked those who jumped to Trump’s defence why they were “angry about someone ripping up a piece of paper but not about someone ripping health care away from disabled people and ripping migrant children away from their families.” Others accused Republicans of effectively shredding the Constitution during Trump’s impeachment trial and focusing their angst on Pelosi.


Others weren’t tickled by Pelosi’s act of resistance. Republican State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York was among those who said Pelosi just upped Trump’s chances at reelection, arguing, “Nothing says four more years” quite like Pelosi “throwing a temper tantrum at the end of a dynamic” speech. Others deemed her “classless,” “petty,” and “a disgrace to women.”

This isn’t the first time Pelosi has shot to viral fame. The internet had some fun with the way she clapped after Trump’s State of the Union address in 2019.