VIDEO: Nancy Pelosi tears up copy of Trump’s State of the Union Address – standing right behind him - GulfToday

VIDEO: Nancy Pelosi tears up copy of Trump’s State of the Union Address – standing right behind him


Mike Pence claps as Nancy Pelosi appears to rip a copy of Donald Trump’s speech at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. AP

Gulf Today report

There is no love lost between US President Donald Trump and Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Nowhere was this more evident than after Trump delivered his annual State of the Union address. Under the glare of television cameras, in full view of the House, Pelosi, who was standing behind the President, tore up a copy of the speech  – in a crystal-clear blatant snub to him.

In his address, Trump started crowing about his economic record and the Great American Comeback – only for Pelosi to steal the limelight with her act.

After he handed her a bound copy of his speech, Pelosi extended her hand but Trump, who has called her “Nervous Nancy” and “Crazy Nancy,” refused to shake it. Throughout the speech, the Californian Democrat did not hide her disgust when she disagreed with the president. At one stage she held up hands with her palms pointed skywards while shaking her head when Trump said the elected officials gathered in the chamber had one fundamental job: "To put America first.”

She afterwards derided his words as a “manifesto of untruths”.

pelosi-trump-1 Nancy Pelosi holds up her torn copy of Donald Trump's speech in Washington. AP

Six weeks after he was impeached by the House of Representatives – and a day before his expected acquittal in the Senate –- Trump's annual State of the Union address was delivered in a triumphant vein, and could not have been more polarising.

Chants of "Four more years! Four more years!" greeted the president as he entered the chamber headed by his chief political nemesis in Washington: the Democratic Speaker of the House.

The bitterness between the 73-year-old president and the 79-year-old speaker is nothing new.

But the latest flashpoint comes one day before the US Senate votes almost certainly to acquit the 45th president on the impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Throughout the impeachment crisis, Trump has repeatedly assailed Pelosi for her impeachment "hoax.”

Trump leaned into Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over his Senate trial, and spoke with him for a good seven seconds – an eternity in the walk-up to his speech.

The shadow of impeachment hung heavy over the evening – neatly illustrated by Jerry Nadler, one of the lawmakers who led the prosecution at Trump's trial, who sat leafing through a pocket copy of the US Constitution ahead of his address.

Pelosi-Trump-3 Nancy Pelosi reaches out to greet Donald Trump as he arrives at the US Capitol. Reuters

But Trump made no mention of impeachment or his expected acquittal in the one hour and 18 minutes speech, opting instead to focus on his "incredible" record on the economy.

"Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging," Trump said, earning a prolonged standing ovation – one of dozens during the night.

Democrats remained largely silent as Trump boasted of his achievements – with many female lawmakers dressed in white in a nod to the suffragette movement for women's voting rights.

Hisses and jeers

But when he spoke of creating an "inclusive society," elevating "every race colour, religion and creed," many in the opposing camp winced, hissed or jeered.

"No!" cried one female lawmaker. Several Democrats walked out.

Democrats, many looking shellshocked, booed further as the president accused them of being soft on "dangerous criminal aliens" and seeking to "impose a socialist takeover of our healthcare system."

In a reality TV-style flourish, Trump paid a live tribute to controversial conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who recently disclosed he has advanced lung cancer, asking Melania Trump to present him with the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honour.

Trump went on to single out a woman in the audience whose army husband had been away for months on foreign deployments, telling her he had "a very special surprise."

It was her husband, in full uniform, coming down the stairs for a tearful, surprise reunion – in front of a primetime national television audience.

But Trump's theatrics appeared to largely leave Democrats cold.

"Every State of the Union has oratorical and presentation flourishes, but you don't want to make it into a theatre, you know – we didn't go to the opera," House Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi said.

Related articles