House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she felt “very liberated” after ripping up President Donald Trump’s third State of the Union address earlier this week because she felt she had previously extended him “every possible courtesy.”
Pelosi, a self-described “speed reader,” said she started brainstorming how to make a statement about his speech shortly after Trump handed a copy to her.
She became incensed by the president’s many “misrepresentations” of the House’s work. (“Some would say the word ‘lie’ — I don’t like to use the word ‘lie,’” Pelosi said.) After listening to the first “quarter or third” of the address, she said she thought, “There has to be something that clearly indicates to the American people that this is not the truth.”
“He shredded the truth in his speech. He’s shredding the Constitution in his conduct. I shredded his state of mind address,” the speaker told reporters during her regular Thursday morning press conference.
Pelosi’s stunt has been interpreted by some as an act of resistance and by others as a hollow gesture.
She made clear on Thursday that it had nothing to do with the fact that the president had apparently snubbed her handshake as he approached the lectern. That “meant nothing” to her, she said.
“I’ve shown every level of respect,” said Pelosi.
She continued: “I extended a hand of friendship to him to welcome him as the president of the United States to the People’s House. It was also an act of kindness because he looked to me like he was a little sedated. He looked that way last year, too.”
Other Democratic lawmakers expressed their frustrations with Trump’s speech by walking out as he delivered it Tuesday night, while a small group refused to attend in the first place.