US Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday explained why she dramatically ripped up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech as he wrapped up his remarks.
“He shredded the truth so I shredded his speech,” Pelosi told House Democrats during a closed-door caucus meeting, according to sources in the room. Like she did the night before, she called his 90-minute address “a manifesto of mistruths.”
“You are supposed to talk about the State of the Union,” Pelosi continued, “not the State of your alleged mind.”
Trump, Pelosi said, “disrespected” the House chamber and used it as a “backdrop for a reality show… to give a speech that had no connection with reality.”
Wednesday’s private remarks marked the first time Pelosi had addressed the Tuesday night incident to House Democrats. Pelosi said she had not planned to tear up Trump’s speech, but she felt “liberated” when she did so. Her actions came after Trump, as he entered the chamber and ascended the dais, appeared to snub Pelosi by ignoring her extended hand.
“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?” Pelosi told her caucus, according to sources in the room. “But I’m a speed reader, so … I went like this through the speech. So I knew that it was a pack of lies. I knew it was a pack of lies, but I thought, ‘Well, let’s see how it goes.’
“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,’” she said. “So, somewhere along the way realizing what was coming, I started to stack my papers in a way that were tear-able.”
Democrats rallied behind Pelosi and her gesture the night before, erupting in a standing ovation in the meeting, lawmakers said.