While there’s plenty of debate over whether President Donald Trump intentionally snubbed an opening handshake from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the State of the Union, tensions between the president and the Democratic caucus were hard to miss.
It’s highly likely that Trump did not see Pelosi extend her hand after he handed the speaker and Vice President Mike Pence copies of his speech. It is customary that the president shake the hand of both, but Trump did not attempt to shake Pence’s hand either Tuesday night.
Not that it mattered, as it was reported that Trump “snubbed” Pelosi. In a clip from CNN, the commentators can be heard salivating over the anticipated handshake, only to be disappointed — as Pelosi tried to save face over being left hanging, a roar can be heard from the gallery.
“It looks like she went to shake his hand and he did not — he did not take it,” CNN’s Jake Tapper is heard saying.
The State of the Union address came on the eve of the Senate very likely acquitting the president on two articles of impeachment drawn up by House Democrats, and Trump appeared to be in a celebratory mood. Promising “the best is yet to come,” he touted the many achievements of his administration while making no mention whatsoever of the partisan attempt to unseat him.
The president’s triumphant speech may have been summed up best by conservative political commentator Buck Sexton:
Trump is spiking the football in the Democrats’ end zone, doing back flips in front of their bench, and running up into the stands to make out with the opposing QB’s girlfriend
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) February 5, 2020
Throughout the evening, Pelosi was seen fidgeting, often pursing her lips or making faces, or shuffling through the pages of Trump’s SOTU speech — like a petulant child, she would rip it in half at the end.
This prompted a strong rebuke from George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley, who was the sole Republican witness at the final House Judiciary hearing on impeachment.
“Pelosi’s act dishonored the institution and destroyed even the pretense of civility and decorum in the House. If this is the Speaker’s “drop the mike” moment, it is a disgrace that should never be celebrated or repeated. In a single act, she obliterated decades of tradition,” Turley tweeted.
Pelosi’s act dishonored the institution and destroyed even the pretense of civility and decorum in the House. If this is the Speaker’s “drop the mike” moment, it is a disgrace that should never be celebrated or repeated. In a single act, she obliterated decades of tradition.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) February 5, 2020
Remarkably, as the second person in the line of presidential succession, Pelosi let it be known on Tuesday that she hasn’t spoken to President Trump since mid-October. This being the infamous White House meeting on Syria, where Pelosi is captured in a photo rudely standing up at the table and pointing at the president.
Speaker Pelosi, show some civility. Standing, pointing your finger and screaming at someone who doesn’t agree with you is not the way to work through issues. This behavior inspires the response you got, from everyone in the room. Storming off was childish.#PelosiMeltdown pic.twitter.com/i9zeljGLud
— Awareone (@Awareone5) October 17, 2019
Pelosi reportedly stormed out of a meeting after Trump was said to have called her either a “third-rate politician” or “third-grade politician.”
The speaker would later claim that he had “a meltdown,” and famously say that she was praying for the president.
Again, it’s possible that Trump simply did not see Pelosi extend her hand, but it was not reported that way:
As President Trump took his place for his State of the Union address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended her hand to greet the President, and he left her hanging. https://t.co/FyQMS5FAnC #sotu pic.twitter.com/AhTTsznRVi
— CNN (@CNN) February 5, 2020
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) February 5, 2020
— TIME (@TIME) February 5, 2020
— Chris Stigall (@ChrisStigall) February 5, 2020
All in all, there was concern on social media for Pelosi’s well being, given the bizarre behavior seen from her throughout the speech:
Guys – can someone check on Pelosi?
– mumbling to herself
– face contortions
– eyes darting around
– confused head wobbles
She is not well. pic.twitter.com/FM55AdaX9P
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 5, 2020
— GMom (@mommak_c) February 5, 2020
— Lionel?? (@LionelMedia) February 5, 2020
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