Conservative blowback after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday night ripped apart a copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech intensified Wednesday as Vice President Mike Pence called it a “new low” and Trump promoted more than a dozen posts with the “#PelosiTantrum” hashtag.
The gesture came at the conclusion of the highly partisan speech from the president — one which was met with raucous cheers from Republicans and groans from Democrats. At one point during Trump’s address, he awarded Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — one day after the inflammatory conservative radio host announced he had advanced lung cancer.
As Trump reached the lectern, he did not shake Pelosi’s outstretched hand before beginning his address. Pelosi pointed to that moment on Twitter after ripping apart her copy of his address.
On “Fox and Friends” on Wednesday, Pence said he didn’t see Pelosi, D-Calif., tear the copy in real time, but said he “wasn’t sure if she was ripping up the speech or ripping up the Constitution.”
“It’s clear the contrast here was a president who spent an hour and a half making the speech about America,” he said. “And Nancy Pelosi in the final moments tried to make it about her.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also criticized Pelosi, telling “Fox and Friends” that, “look, there are things she says I disagree with. I don’t rip them up.”
Later on Fox News, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway asked “what is the matter with” Pelosi and said it “looked like she was reading the Cheesecake Factory menu all night going through every single page” during Trump’s address.
Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Twitter she was “Disappointed to see @SpeakerPelosi rip up the speech that mentioned lives we’ve lost and heroes we celebrated at the SOTU.”
“No matter how you feel or what you disagree with, remember others are watching,” she said. “This was unbecoming of someone at her level in office.”
Trump promoted Haley’s tweet along with roughly two dozen others critical of Pelosi’s actions, including 19 with the #PelosiTantrum hashtag. Those posts said Pelosi’s move “plays into every female stereotype,” that she should be “forced to resign,” that “uncouth is too polite” to describe the actions, and that the Senate will soon do the same to the two articles of impeachment Trump faces because “karma is a b—-.”
Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., joined in too, tweeting that his father “will have the last laugh when he gets to shred nasty Nancy’s bulls— articles of impeachment later today.”
Pelosi issued a statement soon after Trump’s speech explaining why she tore up the papers.
“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,” she said.
Trump’s address came a day before the Senate vote on the articles of impeachment, which is almost certain to end in an acquittal.