House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) would not say whether it was appropriate of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to tear up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening.
“That seems to be the focus,” Hoyer told reporters when asked about the incident. “Let’s just hope we didn’t distract you from the lack of factual accuracy in the speech, the divisiveness in the speech, and the blatant appeal to his base.”
Hoyer when asked multiple times about if it was appropriate for Pelosi to rip up Trump’s speech at the end pic.twitter.com/zLROSQa7YE
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) February 5, 2020
The Maryland Democrat, second only to Pelosi in the House, then described the speech as “very similar” to those that he deliveries at his re-election rallies. “It was a State of the Union designed to appeal to his base, not to bring this country together.”
Pelosi ripped up a copy of the president’s speech immediately after it had concluded, prompting blowback from critics. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) offered pointed criticism of the move, suggesting that the California Democrat be censured over it.
No Trump handshake for Pelosi pic.twitter.com/7SFqtrTczM
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) February 5, 2020
“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 wrote on Twitter. “She isn’t clever or cute her childishness insults our American traditions -should be censured.”
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.She isn’t clever or cute her childishness insults our American traditions -should be censured.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) February 5, 2020
In addition to tearing up his speech, Pelosi slighted President Trump by introducing him into the House chamber as only the “The President of the United States.” It is customary for the speaker to welcome the president with the phrase: “I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the President of the United States.” After the break in protocol, the president appeared to ignore an attempt by the Speaker to shake his hand.
The address marked the first time both President Trump and Pelosi were in the same room since he slammed the Speaker as a “third-rate” politician during a White House meeting on Syria. The speech took place one day before the Senate is expected to acquit the president in the Senate impeachment trial over his actions with Ukraine.