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Pelosi tears up Trump’s speech
A minute after Trump finished the speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could be seen over his left shoulder ripping up the text.
Throughout the president’s remarks — as Trump frequently slammed Democrats on health care, immigration and other issues, Pelosi rarely stood to applaud and could be seen flipping papers behind the president. Pelosi appeared to be following along with Trump’s words as he spoke.
The remarkable moment came at a time of considerable tension between Pelosi and the president, just weeks after House Democrats voted to impeach the president. The speaker and the president have not met for months. Before his remarks, Trump appeared to rebuff an effort by Pelosi to shake Pelosi’s hand. The speaker reached her hand out as Trump gave her a copy of his speech, but Trump abruptly turned his back to her to face his audience in the chamber. He also did not shake the hand of Vice President Mike Pence, who was sitting next to Pelosi.
Pelosi also appeared to slight Trump at the start of his remarks. Traditionally, the speaker introduces the president by saying: “Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the President of the United States.”
In this case, Pelosi omitted several of the words: “Members of Congress, the President of the United States.”
Pelosi stuffed what remained of Trump’s ripped-up speech in a blue envelope. She showed it off to fellow Democrats, including Rep. Zoe Lofgren, one of the House managers prosecuting the impeachment case. After she left the dais, she took the ripped pieces of paper from the envelope and waved them in the air to those left in the chamber and those in the public-viewing gallery above the chamber. As she waved the speech, those in the audience could see the large and prevalent signature of the president.
Pelosi’s public punctuation mark, which caught fire on social media, followed an address from the president that was light on specifics and included several highly political refrains that he often embraces at his rallies.
“There’s nothing Trump hates more than a strong woman standing up to him,” said Josh Schwerin with Priorities USA, a Democratic PAC. “Pelosi has handled her relationship with him extremely well.President Trump surprised the family of Army Sergeant First Class Townsend Williams, who was serving his fourth deployment to the Middle East. During his address, Trump told the story of Williams’ family minutes before Williams walked down an aisle in the gallery to greet his family.
“Welcome home, Sgt. Williams,” Trump said as the chamber erupted into chants of “USA.”
Trump said that Williams’ wife, Amy, works full time and volunteers helping other military families. Williams has deployed in Afghanistan for the past 7 months, Trump said.
“Amy’s kids have not seen their father’s face in many months,” the president said. “Amy, your family’s sacrifice makes it possible for all of our families to live in safety and peace — we thank you.”
– John FritzeFred Guttenberg, a gun violence activist who lost his daughter in the Parkland, Fla. school shooting in 2018, was escorted out of the House chamber by police after loudly shouting something at the president during his address.It was unclear what Guttenberg, who was wearing an orange tie – the color signifying gun safety – shouted before he was grabbed by authorities and escorted out of the chamber.
Guttenberg was one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s guests for the event and was seated on a public-viewing balcony above the chamber. He lost his daughter, Jaime Guttenberg, on Feb. 14, 2018 after another student opened fire in a high school in Parkland, Fla.