Republicans responded angrily after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
Pelosi and Trump have had a combative relationship since he took office. Their mutual animosity has intensified since Democrats took control of the House in January 2019 and grew further with the president’s Dec. 18 impeachment on allegations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Their animus was on display Tuesday as Trump appeared to snub Pelosi’s attempt to shake his hand before the address and Pelosi tore up the speech afterward from her position behind the president on the House dais.
Pelosi later told reporters she tore up the document because it was a “manifesto of untruths.”
Vice President Mike Pence called Pelosi’s rending of the speech “a new low” and said it was an effort to make the address “about her.”
“I wasn’t sure if she was ripping up the speech or ripping up the Constitution,” Pence said on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday. “To have her stand up and tear up that speech really dishonored the moment.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C, also slammed Pelosi for the move.
“You can tear up the speech, but you can’t tear up the accomplishments,” Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity, referring to a litany of economic and national security achievements he credited to Trump.
Graham challenged Pelosi to provide facts “to dispute what the president said about economic growth among all sectors of society.”
“Don’t tear up the speech, tell me where it’s wrong,” he said. “You know why Trump’s going to win? The speech is absolutely the truth, and the best is yet to come.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Pelosi’s act “petty.”
“Ripping up a piece of paper doesn’t change the facts that were written on it—Americans are winning, in spite of the do-nothing Democrats,” McCarthy said in a tweet.
How petty of Pelosi. Ripping up a piece of paper doesn’t change the facts that were written on it—Americans are winning, in spite of the do-nothing Democrats.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) February 5, 2020
Trump: The best is yet to come!
Pelosi: Rips up speech
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) February 5, 2020
Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, rumor has it her impeachment articles are due to be ripped up tomorrow.
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) February 5, 2020
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told Fox News that Pelosi had torn up the speech in the same way she and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., have “been trying to rip apart America for the last three years” with their investigations of the Trump administration.
“Nancy Pelosi disgraced herself, her title, the US Congress, and our great country with this disgusting response at the end of the President’s State of the Union address tonight.,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., said in a tweet. “She should be stripped of her gavel by the American public this November.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., called for Pelosi to be censured for the act and said her “childishness insults our American traditions.”
“As Speaker of the House for four State of the Unions by a President of the other party I am disgusted and insulted by the viciously partisan action of Nancy Pelosi tearing up the speech,” Gingrich said. “She isn’t clever or cute.”
“Disappointed to see @SpeakerPelosi rip up the speech that mentioned lives we’ve lost and heroes we celebrated at the SOTU,” tweeted former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. “No matter how you feel or what you disagree with, remember others are watching. This was unbecoming of someone at her level in office.”
The hashtags #PelosiTantrum and #NancytheRipper were trending on Twitter Wednesday morning. Later, #NancyPelosiRocks also began to pick up steam.
Though as of 1 p.m. EST Wednesday Trump had not directly posted a tweet about Pelosi ripping up the speech, he retweeted 22 posts attacking the House speaker – most using the #PelosiTantrum hashtag, including one that called Pelosi a “bitter drama queen pitching a little hissy fit.”
He also retweeted a post from the White House Twitter account that implied Pelosi had ripped up the memories Americans cited in the 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 (@WhiteHouse) February 5, 2020
Jody Jones – whose brother Rocky was mentioned in the speech because he was killed by a person who was in the U.S. illegally – said on “Fox & Friends” it was “probably the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“It felt like she ripped out hearts out,” he said.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway echoed Gingrich’s call to censure Pelosi, whom she said, “looked like she was reading the Cheesecake Factory menu all night, going through every single page.”
“There ought to be a Senate resolution denouncing her behavior last night,” she told Fox News Wednesday. “And I will tell you that that’s the feeling of many people who believe in the decorum of the United States Congress, the sanctity of the State of the Union.”
Dan Scavino, the White House official who helps run Trump’s Twitter account, tweeted, “Pelosi destroyed a historical record.”
“The speech she ripped up was a one-of-a-kind record, signed by POTUS and full of stories of Bravery, Heroism and Patriotism. It belonged to the AMERICAN PEOPLE, not to her. What a disgusting display of raw partisanship!” he said.
Nancy Pelosi destroyed a historical record tonight at #SOTU
The speech she ripped up was a one-of-a-kind record, signed by POTUS and full of stories of Bravery, Heroism and Patriotism. It belonged to the AMERICAN PEOPLE, not to her. What a disgusting display of raw partisanship! pic.twitter.com/CRXHPE6vdm
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) February 5, 2020
Some Democratic lawmakers said the outrage at Pelosi was misplaced.
“If you are more offended by ripping up some pieces of paper than by the President telling disgraceful lies to the Congress and the country about trying to end protections for millions of Americans with preexisting conditions we aren’t going to see eye to eye here,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.
“Folks are more outraged with @SpeakerPelosi ripping up the speech in half than with the fact that Trump has ripped families apart at the border,” tweeted Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, one of the seven House impeachment managers. “He’s ripped babies from their parents’ arms and put them in cages. That should outrage EVERYONE!”
Other Trump critics embraced Pelosi’s act.
“His words have never been worth the paper they’re printed on, so this makes sense,” tweeted conservative lawyer George Conway, who is a co-founder of the anti-Trump political action committee The Lincoln Project. He also the husband of Kellyanne Conway.
“Thank you. That felt good,” said liberal filmmaker Michael Moore in a tweet, along with a photo of Pelosi in the act of tearing the speech.
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