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Pelosi Defends Shredding of Trump’s SOTU Address: ‘It Was the Courteous Thing To Do’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rips up the speech of U.S. President Donald Trump after his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., February 4, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) released a statement Tuesday night defending her decision to rip up President Trump’s speech following Tuesday’s State of the Union address, calling it a “manifesto of mistruths.”

Pelosi stood up and shredded her copy of Trump’s address after the president finished his speech, a viral reaction caught on live television.

The move came after Trump refused to shake Pelosi’s hand at the beginning of the night. The Speaker then altered the usual introduction for a president by removing “I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you” from her opening remarks. “Members of Congress, the President of the United States,” Pelosi simply stated.

Pelosi told reporters after the speech that she had ripped it up “because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives.” While Republicans stood up and applauded for much of Trump’s speech, Pelosi and her caucus remained seated for most of the 78-minute long address, with a notable moment of bipartisan support coming when Trump recognized Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido in the gallery.

In her statement following the State of the Union, Pelosi singled out a number of policy critiques, especially healthcare, and warned that “the American people will see the stark reality” when Trump presents his federal budget next week.

“The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people,” Pelosi’s statement reads. “The American people expect and deserve a President to have integrity and respect for the aspirations for their children.”

Pelosi also praised Michigan Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer, who delivered the party’s response, for a “positive message and vision for progress for all.” She closed by citing the Democrats’ 2018 midterm platform as the blueprint for success moving forwards.

“In the election, Democrats ran and won on a pledge For The People: lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, clean up corruption in government,” Pelosi concluded. “And we will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of progress for hard-working families across America, For The People.”

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