President Trump delivered his State of the Union address last night and subjected the entire nation to yet another one of his lie-riddled, self-congratulatory, and only semi-literate rants. Gone are the days of eloquent, moving presidential oration and gone is the power of the SOTU to unite us. Trump has turned it into just another showcase for his turgid ego and partisan hackery.
The entire affair was made all the more unbearable by Trump’s decision to have First Lady Melania Trump award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh, who recently revealed that he has lung cancer. Limbaugh has done more damage to this country than just about anybody currently living, and giving him such an award completely devalues it. His racist, xenophobic, misogynist, and anti-science radio broadcasts have done much to poison the minds of countless American conservatives, and his lifetime legacy is nothing beyond the stoking of divisions for personal gain.
When Trump first ascended the dais to deliver his remarks last night, it appeared to some that he intentionally avoiding shaking Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s hand after she extended it, possibly out of bitterness over her right and just decision to impeach him. Throughout the entire speech, Pelosi sat behind the president, staunchly refusing to applaud for his propaganda.
When Trump finally finished his address, Pelosi stood up and ripped up his speech in front of the entire world. It was a powerful, conspicuous move and a clear indication of exactly how little she thinks of this so-called president. On her way out of the building, a reporter asked her what she thought of Trump’s speech and she simply replied: “I tore it up.” She also told reporters that “it was a courteous thing to do considering the alternative. It was such a dirty speech.”
In addition to being the right thing to do, Pelosi’s ripping also highjacked Trump’s media coverage. Rather than discussing the contents of his speech, many outlets ended up talking about Pelosi’s bold response to it. By now we know that nothing infuriates Trump more than someone else stealing attention from him.
— TIME (@TIME) February 5, 2020
— Haley Talbot (@haleytalbotnbc) February 5, 2020
Today, Pelosi further addressed her speech shredding. According to The Hill, Pelosi explained her rationale during a closed-door meeting with Congressional Democrats.
“He shredded the truth so I shredded his speech,” said the Speaker. She dismissed Trump’s speech as a “manifesto of mistruths,” as apt a description as one can imagine. While she didn’t plan in advance on ripping up the speech, she said she felt “liberated” after she did it.
“I didn’t go in there to tear up the speech, and I didn’t even care that he didn’t shake my hand. In fact, who cares?” said Pelosi, before explaining that after being handed her copy she quickly read through it and realized it was a “pack of lies.”
The decision for how to proceed arrived quickly. “About a quarter through it I thought, ‘You know – he’s selling a bill of goods like a snake oil salesman. We cannot let this stand. So, somewhere along the way realizing what was coming, I started to stack my papers in a way that were tearable,” said the Speaker.
“You are supposed to talk about the State of the Union not the State of your alleged mind,” Pelosi added, taking a potshot at the president’s delusional brags. She went on to slam Trump for the manner in which he “disrespected” the chamber of the House of Representatives by exploiting it as as “backdrop for a reality show.”
Democrats who heard her comments during today’s meeting gave her a standing ovation, making it clear that the party stands behind its leader. As usual, Pelosi has proven herself to be the perfect person to guide Democrats through the myriad horrors and indignities of the Trump era. America is lucky to have her.
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.