In a startling resistance theater tantrum, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously tore up her copy of President Trump's State of the Union Address (which did not mention impeachment) upon its completion, while the president was still standing at the dais. The move drew instant outrage from Trump supporters, and a fair amount of media criticism, as a thousand lefty online memes blossomed. Asked why she engaged in the controversial act, Pelosi said it was the most "courteous" reaction she could think of, gratuitously adding a claim that didn't seem especially well thought-through:
Even the pages describing the heroics of our armed forces? Maybe want to workshop that talking point https://t.co/IMqXEmDMq6— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 5, 2020
I am not among those who are furious at Pelosi over this. Sure, it was petty and disrespectful. After these last few months in particular, her reputation as a brilliant manager of optics who gets under the president's skin without debasing herself has well and truly expired. Granted, Trump supporters are in no position to lecture anyone on decorum and manners, but few can beat the president at his own 'fight ugly' game. I also don't subscribe to the "she disrespected the troops!" line that quickly emerged on the Right; that's almost certainly not what was on her mind when she did what she did. She basically just looked ridiculous, small and angry -- even more so when she shamelessly postured as a genuine seeker of bipartisanship literally minutes after ripping apart her manuscript of the president's remarks to the nation. Sure, Trump appeared to have snubbed her handshake. She also failed to introduce him with the typical honorifics. Her unceremonious disposal of the document was simply the latest in a line of mutual nasty gestures. But it sounds like her caucus loved it:
“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.” Democrats, expressing support for Pelosi’s gesture, erupted in a standing ovation, lawmakers said. “She ripped it from top to bottom,” said Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), speaking metaphorically of Pelosi laying into Trump’s speech.
Meanwhile, voters appear to be having a rather different reaction:
Frank Luntz reporting on his focus group's findings following the #SOTU:— Francis Brennan (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@FrancisBrennan) February 5, 2020
"I’m afraid that the people who report the news are actually missing what the voters themselves are saying...
"We had two undecided voters. They moved toward Trump after this speech was done." pic.twitter.com/V9S15BeBwg
One wonders how normal people watching at home may have felt as Democrats stubbornly refused to applaud unambiguously great news about the US economy:
Dems sit stone-faced as Trump runs through record low unemployment stats for practically every group in the country, including veterans and the disabled!— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 5, 2020
Some wouldn't clap for anything, evidently:
A small cluster of Democrats including Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Mark Pocan don't stand for Charles McGee, the former Tuskegee Airman introduced by Trump— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) February 5, 2020
As for Democrats sour-faced spin on the economy, I'll leave you with some thoughts on the president's effective speech and some relevant stats:
Some heterodox policy ideas, some celebration of joint accomplishments, lots of economic bragging, patriotism galore — all punctuated by moments of bare-knuckle partisanship.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 5, 2020
Not mentioned: Impeachment. But its divisiveness hung over the whole spectacle. #SOTU
Notable: 74% of Americans believe they will be better off in a year, the highest percent since 1977, according to a new @Gallup poll— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) February 5, 2020
59% say they are better off now than a year ago -- the highest since 1999.https://t.co/LOhMnYgV8a #economy pic.twitter.com/u6u62Zll9r
The entire Gallup poll contains mounds of welcome news for Team Trump.