Nancy Pelosi’s unexpected ripping of Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech sent ripples across the political climate of the United States, igniting debates amongst Democrats and Republicans alike.
The problems during the address supposedly began when Trump did not shake her hand before the speech, shown in a photograph that Pelosi tweeted with the caption “Democrats will never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done #ForThePeople. We will work to find common ground where we can, but will stand our ground where we cannot. #SOTU.”
Pelosi’s repeated tears in the speech came from obvious frustration and disgust, and she later stated that she “tore up a manifesto of mistruths” in her Capitol Hill weekly briefing.
In addition to being angry over the contents of the speech, this was definitely a power move for her following the Senate trial over the Articles of Impeachment, where Donald Trump ended up being acquitted of the charges brought against him.
Regardless of her motives for this dramatic statement, there has been intense conversation surrounding it from many different angles.
One argument is that her action equates to the ripping up of, somehow, the second Amendment. As ridiculous as it sounds, this is a genuine viewpoint held by many people online — groups like “Nancy Pelosi Should be Held Accountable for Her Statements’ ‘ on Facebook are sharing memes circulated by the NRA with this exact theme. Yes, the NRA.
A popular one with over 41,000 comments shows Pelosi ripping up the speech on top of another image of her tearing the right to bear arms. The caption reads “She rips this now, and she’ll rip this later.”
In response to this, the Chattanooga Times Free Press published a cartoon by artist Clay Bennett, where Pelosi rips up the speech and Trump faces her as he rips the entire U.S. Constitution, yelling “How dare you?”. This is definitely more on-point with the problem at hand, rather than unnecessarily expanding to other issues.
In an article published in the National Review, Jim Geraghty explains that the speech was more than just political sentiments: it contained the stories of Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee and several other families and children, scholarship opportunities, and the giving of the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh.
Aside from the fact that Limbaugh is a notorious racist, saying things like “We need segregated busses… This is Obama’s America” and being entirely undeserving of the medal, Geraghty does have a point. Nancy Pelosi’s ripping of the speech came across to many as an act of extreme disrespect to the people being honored and rewarded — something they did not deserve.
However, disrespect appeared to be the farthest thing from her mind. The decision she made seemed to be an impulsive one, but radiated passion and conviction.
There was definitely an unintended insult to the families and stories represented, but there was also a very strong political statement made without uttering a word at that moment.
At the end of the day, the long-term consequences of her actions remain to be seen. Pelosi has staunch supporters, determined haters, and those who stand firmly in the middle of the road.
Her purpose seemed to be to show her stance on Donald Trump and his “manifesto of mistruths,” which she has definitely done, and she seems prepared to weather whatever storm this may send her way.