Nancy Pelosi (Associated Press)

Pelosi shreds Trump’s speech, right there on the podium

As President Donald Trump stepped down, she ripped again. Then a third time. And a fourth.

And then she tore up the speech.

No sooner had President Donald Trump finished his State of the Union address than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped the paper it was printed on in two.

Right there, on camera, behind Trump’s back. As he stepped down, she ripped again. Then a third time. And a fourth. If Trump knew about the American carnage going on behind him, he didn’t react as he left. But Pelosi was on her turf, with a deep understanding of her audience — and she wasn’t finished. In case any confusion remained, Pelosi held up what remained of the address to her family in the gallery, in full view of reporters.

“It was a manifesto of mistruths,” Pelosi told reporters as she left the Capitol. The ripping was not planned, according to a person close to the Democratic speaker who was unauthorized to speak publicly.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that Pelosi told House Democrats at a private morning meeting that the Trump “shredded the truth, and she shredded the speech because it was filled with untruths.”

Republicans dismissed her display, on the eve of Trump’s acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, as a tantrum.

Vice-President Mike Pence, who sat to Pelosi’s right during the speech, said Wednesday that he did not see when she tore up the speech. He joined fellow Republicans in criticizing her behaviour.

“I found out just a few moments later, and I think it was a new low,” he said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends.” “I wasn’t sure if she was ripping up the speech or ripping up the Constitution.”

Pence accused Pelosi of trying to make the evening “about her and I think the American people see through it.”

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said Tuesday night that Pelosi “might as well rip up any plans for attracting independent voters.”

Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana added in a tweet Tuesday: “This speech was about American heroes and American workers. She decided THAT was worth literally tearing apart.”

Tearing the speech gave Pelosi the last visual word over Trump, who had spoken to the House from a position of strength. He arrived in the chamber with the full force of the Republican Party behind him. She is leading a party in the throes of a divisive presidential nomination fight that had botched the kickoff Iowa caucuses only the night before. The House had impeached Trump on her watch. But the Senate was poised to acquit him.

From the start, the event was awkward because the history between those two was so icy. They had not spoken since October, when Pelosi pointed at Trump over a White House conference table, suggested that Russia controls him and walked out.

Now, Trump was returning to the very chamber where he was impeached, standing before the same Democrats who have called him unfit for office and sought to oust him. He stepped to the podium and handed navy blue folders containing his speech to Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence. Photos show that Trump mistakenly handed Pence’s copy to Pelosi. The outside reads in gold letters: “The President of the Senate of the United States.” That’s Pence’s title.

ALSO READ: Impeachment witnesses rejected, ensuring Trump’s acquittal

At that moment, Pelosi extended a hand. Trump did not acknowledge it, instead turning around to begin his speech.

Pelosi, famous for casting shade, especially on Trump, gave a look.

For 78 minutes, Trump extolled a “Great American Comeback” on his watch, just three years after he took office decrying a land of “American carnage” under his predecessor. Pelosi read through her copy as he spoke.

Trump bestowed the Medal of Freedom on Rush Limbaugh to raucous applause and a glum reception from House Democrats.

“My fellow Americans, the best is yet to come,” he finished.

Pelosi had already gathered the papers for her big ripping finish, which she later said was “the courteous thing to do, considering the alternative.”

The moment was a less joyful echo of last year’s State of the Union, when Pelosi stole the show with a smirk-and-clap, eye to eye with Trump. Then, Democrats were triumphant after election gains that flipped the House from Republican control and put Pelosi back in the speaker’s chair.

That night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez arrived on the scene wearing a white caped pantsuit and sat prominently at the centre of the Democratic section. Tuesday night, on the eve of Trump’s acquittal, the congresswoman skipped the speech altogether.

“After much deliberation, I have decided that I will not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a few hours before the speech. “None of this is normal, and I will not legitimize it.”

Laurie Kellman And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Donald TrumpUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial Fair Deal Panel comes to Lacombe

Panel asks whether Alberta is getting a fair deal in confederation

PHOTO: Kinsmen Auction supports Team Jigger

Over $30,000 auction items and cash donations were made to the event

Local Artist Donna Spencer featured at Lacombe Performing Arts Centre

LPAC is pleased to have “Wanderings: A Collection of Thoughts” currently on display

Lacombe Highway 12/Highway 2A water mains repairs continue

Discovery of multiple leaks on aged water infrastructure prompts repair

Granden Auto, Town of Blackfalds at odds over storage yard

Business owner believes the Town wants his business out of the downtown

WATCH: Night Among the Stars Celebrity Dance-off supports Lacombe BBBS

Over $12,000 raised for Dancer’s Edge Parents Association and Lacombe BBBS

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Canada’s flag was flown for first time 55 years ago today

The flag is used to celebrate wins in sports, honour Canada Day, and flown at half-mast after tragedy

No shirts, no city services: Firefighter calendar too steamy for Ontario officials

The city has never funded the calendars, but has OK’d photoshoots at city-owned properties

CFL teams under the microscope after free agency begins

While some big names remain, here’s what lies ahead leading up to next month’s CFL combine in Toronto

Most Read