Note to Nancy: The Whole World Was Watching


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tears up a copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Screen snip, YouTube, C-SPAN)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—perhaps underscoring the visceral hatred many believe she and other Capitol Hill Democrats hold for President Donald Trump—provided what many believe was a visual campaign ad for Republicans this fall by quickly ripping up a copy of the State of the Union address as the president’s speech came to an end.

It was, according to Fox News, “a remarkable scene.” And it happened on live television with millions of American citizens watching. Her action is being described on social media as “childish,” “vindictive” and a few things that can’t be printed.

The moment that may become Pelosi’s legacy, according to a White House tweet, came after the president delivered what many conservatives are calling his best speech ever, and one of the greatest SOTU speeches of all time. Trump touched all of the high points—a booming economy, strong military, restored international respect, improved foreign trade agreements—without even once mentioning the impeachment, which was expected to come to an abrupt end Wednesday.

Reacting to the moment, the White House tweeted, “Speaker Pelosi just ripped up: One of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. The survival of a child born at 21 weeks. The mourning families of Rocky Jones and Kayla Mueller. A service member’s reunion with his family. That’s her legacy.”

CNS News, on Facebook, observed, “Reacting to her action, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) called Pelosi ‘an embarrassment and unfit for office.’ Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) tweeted ‘I would have shredded it.’”

The contrast illustrated the difference between someone with class, and someone who skipped class.

During his speech, Trump reiterated his vow to protect the Second Amendment, recognized one of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen, alluded to the end of “catch and release” border enforcement, criticized sanctuary cities and spoke of the strong economy and low unemployment among minorities and youth.

He took a direct swipe at the policies of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

“If we had not reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration, the world would not now be witness to America’s great economic success,” the president observed. “Under the last administration, more than 10 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Under my administration, 7 million Americans have come off of food stamps, and 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare.”

Republicans cheered, most Democrats remained silent.

The speech infuriated a group calling itself the National Democratic Training Committee, which sent an email blast early Wednesday wailing, “Trump is casting a DARK shadow over President Obama’s legacy… He’s trying to DISTRACT the American people from his crimes by spreading outright lies about our favorite President!”

During his address, the president recognized conservative media icon Rush Limbaugh, who had only 24 hours earlier announced he is suffering from advanced lung cancer. Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, as Republicans and the gallery audience cheered and applauded. Many Democrats, however, remained motionless.

But it was Pelosi’s on-camera destruction of her copy of Trump’s address that has exploded across the social media landscape. As if Democrats hadn’t already suffered enough so far this week, with the Iowa Caucus debacle, the president’s popularity hitting its highest point according to a new Gallup poll, the “rip seen ‘round the world” was the proverbial frosting on the cake.

On Wednesday, many social media posts were calling for Pelosi’s resignation. How this will translate to a win or loss for Democrats will wait until November. Between now and then, the televised address provided enough material to illustrate months’ worth of campaign advertisements.

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