House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a wordless reaction to President Trump’s combative State of the Union Speech on Tuesday — she tore her copy of it in half at the end of the address.
The extraordinary gesture of disdain exemplified the partisan divide lingering over Washington as the Senate prepares to vote Wednesday on the two articles of impeachment passed by the Democratic House. Republicans, who hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, are considered certain to acquit him.
Trump handed Pelosi a copy of his speech before he read it but turned away from the speaker when she reached to shake his hand. Pelosi and Trump have reportedly not spoken since October, when the House began its impeachment inquiry into Trump’s efforts to coerce Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) February 5, 2020
Except for a few passages, Trump’s speech was met with silence and occasional groans from the Democratic side of the chamber, while Republicans applauded loudly and enthusiastically.
“I tore it up,” Pelosi said as she was leaving the chamber. “Because it was a courteous thing to do considering the alternative. It was such a dirty speech."
The White House responded with a tweet mocking Pelosi:
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 (@WhiteHouse) February 5, 2020
Some Democrats who attended the speech quickly rallied to Pelosi’s defense, calling out the president for what they viewed as a combative address.
That was a disgrace. I should not have gone.
It was a re-election pep rally from beginning to end, filled with political stunts and verifiable lie after verifiable lie.
I get it - presidents use their last SOTU to make the case for re-election. But that crossed a line.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 5, 2020
Minutes after the House chamber had emptied, Pelosi tweeted about her interactions with Trump.
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
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