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‘I tore it up’: Nancy Pelosi ripped her copy of Trump’s State of the Union speech in half when he finished

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore her copy of President Trump's s State of the Union address.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore her copy of President Trump's s State of the Union address.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Now that’s some serious shade.

As President Trump finished his State of the Union speech late Tuesday night, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood up, tapped her copy of Trump’s speech on the desk in front of her to line the papers up just so — and then ripped them in half before putting them back down.

Nancy Pelosi tore her copy of Trump’s State of the Union speech in half when he finished
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore her copy of President Trump's s State of the Union address.

She then lined up another small stack and ripped yet again.

Since Pelosi was sitting behind Trump for the whole speech, her move was seen on national TV before cameras cut away.

As she exited the room, someone asked her: “Madame Speaker, what did you think of Trump’s speech tonight?” She responded, “I tore it up.”

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Asked afterward in the halls of the Capitol why she did it, Pelosi responded: “It was the courteous thing to do.” She added: “It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternative.”

Earlier in the evening, Pelosi and Trump had an awkward moment. The top House Democrat had extended a hand to Trump, but the president appeared to snub her, and a handshake ultimately did not happen. Pelosi retreated her hand, and then gave an eyebrow raise and a look that appeared to say, “Well, OK then.”

Donald Trump skips Nancy Pelosi's handshake
An awkward moment between Nancy Pelosi and President Trump.

Shortly after Pelosi’s ripping move, the White House tweeted a scathing response.

Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for Trump’s reelection team, also said that Pelosi “might as well rip up any plans for attracting independent voters.”

“Pelosi and the Democrats sat on their hands through all of the good news for Americans in that speech,” he said. “It’s a sad place to be when good news for America is bad news for Democrats.”

Other Republicans dismissed her display as a “temper tantrum,” in the words of Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

“This speech was about American heroes and American workers. She decided THAT was worth literally tearing apart,” tweeted Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican vote-counter.

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Meanwhile, Pelosi tweeted her own response to Trump’s speech later in the evening, saying Democrats would “never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done. . . We will work to find common ground where we can, but will stand our ground where we cannot.” She attached a photo of Trump snubbing her handshake.

The speaker led House Democrats in impeaching Trump last month on charges he abused power and obstructed Congress in his dealings with Ukraine. The Senate is poised to acquit him Wednesday of the two articles of impeachment.

This isn’t the first time Pelosi has made her feelings about Trump known. During the 2019 State of the Union, after Trump blew through Pelosi’s customary introduction, she gave a smirk and an eye-roll. And when he arrived on the dais, she looked the president in the eye and put her hands together in what is now known as the iconic clap.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) applauds during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 5, 2019. When Pelosi clapped as Trump gave his address on Tuesday night, many social media users declared her the queen of shade. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) applauds during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 5, 2019. When Pelosi clapped as Trump gave his address on Tuesday night, many social media users declared her the queen of shade. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)NYT

And after Democratic leaders and Trump tangled in May, leading him to cut short a meeting, Pelosi said the president “just took a pass” on working on national infrastructure problems.

“In any event, I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States of America,” she said.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss