Pelosi Tears Up Trump’s State of the Union Speech
By Staff, Agencies
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have spent the last few months painstakingly laying out a case for impeachment, but during the last few seconds of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, she did something much less prudent and prepared. In what at least seemed like an impulsive, gut reaction, the speaker started ripping up the president’s speech behind his back as he took his metaphorical [and later physical] victory lap.
Pelosi tore up the president’s speech. Not once, not twice but three times. Actually, she did it a fourth time, leading some people to wonder if she had even ripped up the large envelope the speech came in. A source close to the speaker told CNN that the moment was an entirely spontaneous expression of anger.
Why was the famously calculated Pelosi so angry? Maybe she was upset that the president, who has practically admitted trying to manipulate the next presidential election, will probably face no consequences for it. His Republican yes men have been gearing up for Wednesday’s acquittal for months. Or perhaps it’s the transfer of wealth from the poor to the very rich that Trump instituted with his signature tax cut. Or perhaps it’s his efforts to curb access to safe abortion, food stamps programs and SNAP programs.
Or, maybe, it was all the lying.
The night started with Trump declining to shake Pelosi’s hand, a snub that she later underlined with a tweet in which she said “Democrats will never stop extending the hand of friendship.” As the night continued, the tension was palpable. Pelosi clearly wasn’t thrilled with the president’s address which, like the vast majority of his speeches, contained a litany of half-truths, misleading statements and outright lies.
When you take into account the abundance of contempt Trump has shown Pelosi, not just during his State of the Union, but over the course of his entire presidency, ripping his speech into pieces honestly feels like an understated reaction.
And yet, the backlash has been fierce. Republicans such as Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, Sen. Marco Rubio and the White House’s Twitter account called into question the speaker’s integrity. Trump has personally retweeted and amplified dozens of similar attacks Wednesday morning. The irony, of course, being that many of those calling the speaker uncivilized are the same people who are about to let a president get away with metaphorically shredding the Constitution – or at the very least, disrespecting it.
Of course the speaker is getting pushback. Pelosi displaying the tiniest bit of rage exemplifies the scrutiny that awaits her and women in politics – a scrutiny that is even worse for women of color. Women learn early on to mask anger because they know they’ll be punished for it. While Trump gets to have a meltdown almost every day, female politicians have to be much more savvy and calculated when communicating even the slightest bit of emotion.