A bitter feud between US President Donald Trump and Democrat Nancy Pelosi has reached boiling point at his State of the Union Speech.
Not only did Trump deny her a handshake, but following Trump’s speech Pelosi was caught on camera ripping apart a copy of the President’s speech behind his back. And honestly it’s as savage as we aspire to be.
Trump avoided the subject of his impeachment drama in a pugnacious 80-minute speech on Tuesday but the raw wounds from the battle were evident, with fellow Republicans giving him standing ovations while rival Democrats for the most part remained seated.
The Republican-led Senate was expected to acquit him of charges he abused his powers and obstructed Congress during a vote beginning at 4pm on Wednesday (8am AEDT on Thursday).
Seeing Pelosi, the US House of Representatives speaker, for the first time since she stormed out of a White House meeting four months ago, Trump declined to shake her hand as he gave her a paper copy of his remarks before starting to speak.
Despite having not spoken to Trump since their last meeting, Pelosi appeared to be taken aback. She avoided citing the customary “high privilege and distinct honour” that usually accompanies the speaker’s introduction of the president to Congress.
When his speech ended, Pelosi stood and tore up her copy of the remarks he had handed her, later telling reporters it was “the courteous thing to do, considering the alternative”.
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Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, said of Pelosi: “Her hatred for @realdonaldtrump has blinded her to the repulsive nature of her smug, elitist behavior.”
After the event, Pelosi tweeted a photo of her with her hand reaching out to Trump and said, “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”
The impeachment case has intensified bitter feelings between Trump, a former reality TV star-turned conservative politician, and Pelosi, a California liberal, that have existed throughout his presidency.
Pelosi, who dropped her opposition to impeachment and allowed Democratic lawmakers to seek the charges against him, sat stoically and grim-faced behind Trump and paged through a paper copy of his speech as he spoke.
Trump entered the chamber with Democrats experiencing unease and chaos after technical glitches delayed the results of voting in Iowa on Monday, the first 2020 contest as the party seeks a nominee to face the incumbent Republican.
Several Democratic lawmakers, including California representative Maxine Waters and New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, announced in advance of the speech that they would be skipping it, with the high-profile New York freshman tweeting she would “not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalise Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution”.