Pelosi has demolished decades of tradition with this poorly considered moment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco, CA Democrat, appeared to made a mockery of President Donald Trump during his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening. Social media exploded with photos and videos of Pelosi making strange facial expressions during the speech, shaking her head, pointing at her people, only to culminate the evening in tearing apart a copy of his speech. Her only job at the State of the Union was to properly introduce the president, and maintain decorum during his speech – and she did neither.
For her actions, her lack of decorum and respect of long held traditions, George Washington Law Professor Jonathan Turley called for Pelosi to resign, for the above, and after slighting President Donald Trump while introducing him at the State of the Union and for ripping up his prepared remarks.
Professor Turley is no Trump acolyte however, he is intellectually honest and a well respected law professor.
In an article for The Hill, Turley wrote:
First, Pelosi dropped the traditional greeting before the start of the address, “Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States.” Instead, she simply announced, “Members of Congress, the president of the United States.” It was extremely petty and profoundly inappropriate. Putting aside the fact that this is not her tradition, but that of the House, it is no excuse to note that the president was impeached.
Her drop the mic moment will have a lasting impact on the House. While many will celebrate her trolling of the president, she tore up something far more important than a speech. Pelosi has shredded decades of tradition, decorum and civility that the nation could use now more than ever.
The House Speaker is more than a political partisan, particularly when carrying out functions such as the State of the Union address. A president appears in the House as a guest of both chambers of Congress. The House Speaker represents not her party or herself but the entirety of the chamber. At that moment, she must transcend her own political ambitions and loyalties.
Pelosi has demolished decades of tradition with this poorly considered moment. Of course, many will celebrate her conduct and be thrilled by the insult to Trump. However, even those of us who disagree with his policies should consider what Pelosi destroyed in her moment of rage. She shredded the pretense of governing with civility and dignity in the House.
Notably, she did not wait to rip up her copy of the speech until after she left the House floor. Pelosi wanted to do it in front of the cameras, at the end of the address with the president still in the chamber.
That act was more important to Pelosi than preserving the tradition of her office. In doing so, she forfeited the right to occupy that office. If Pelosi cannot maintain the dignity and neutrality of her office at the State of the Union, she should resign as the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Perhaps Pelosi was overcome with despair knowing that the following day President Trump would be acquitted of Impeachment, so she just needed to let out her frustrations.
Whatever the reason for her lack of judgment, Pelosi trampled on decades of time-honored, non-partisan tradition, forever leaving a stain on her party leadership.
Notably, President Trump’s 2020 team responded following the Impeachment acquittal and commented on not just Speaker Pelosi, but the entire Democrat delegation from California:
“Californians have been fed up with the impeachment sham from the day it started, urging Democrats from every corner of the state to stop the madness and get back to work for the Golden State,” Trump Victory Spokeswoman Samantha Zager said. “Democrats know they can’t beat President Trump, which is why they had to impeach him. Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, along with Reps. Josh Harder, TJ Cox, Mike Levin, Katie Porter, Gil Cisneros and Harley Rouda, tried to invalidate the results of the 2016 election, and they will be remembered for their reckless actions. President Trump’s campaign only got stronger as this impeachment sham went on and Californians will remember the partisan tactics of the do-nothing Democrats on Election Day.”
She [Pelosi] shredded the pretense of governing with civility and dignity in the House.
Vice President Mike Pence, who was sitting and standing right next to Speaker Pelosi, said in an interview with Fox and Friends, this was a “new low” at the State of the Union. He added he “wasn’t clear if she was ripping up the speech or the Constitution…”
Vice President Pence said Pelosi ripped up the pages of the President’s speech, she ripped up the stories of the families President Trump invited to the State of the Union – the last remaining Tuskegee airman and his great grandson who want to be a member of the Space Force, the little girl awarded an opportunity grant to attend the school of her choice, the military family reunited with their deployed father, the angel and Gold Star families, and when radio legend Rush Limbaugh was surprisingly awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom… and Pence noted that Pelosi never even looked up at Limbaugh when the First Lady placed the medal around his neck.
You can watch the interview HERE.