The bad blood between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached a boiling point Tuesday night during the annual State of the Union address.
The event began with a presidential snub by Trump when he refused to shake the speaker’s extended hand and ended with Pelosi tearing up a printed copy of Trump’s speech.
Trump walked into the House chamber to raucous applause from GOP members and chants of “four more years” before handing Vice President Mike Pence and Pelosi copies of his remarks.
But when Pelosi reached out to offer Trump a welcome, the president turned his back on the woman who led his impeachment in the House of Representatives.
It was the first time Trump and Pelosi had seen each other since she stormed out of a White House meeting four months ago.
“Members of Congress, the President of the United States,” was all she said when introducing Trump.
Pelosi eschewed the speaker’s customary introduction of the president by not mentioning his name.
As he stood at the dais, Trump declared: “The state of our union is stronger than ever before.”
On the eve of his likely impeachment acquittal, Trump came face-to-face with the same House Democrats who passed the two impeachment articles against him last month.
But the address, dubbed the “Great American Comeback” made no mention of the scandal, focusing instead on the administration’s accomplishments, policy goals and the eternal American spirit.
“America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise and the America’s future is blazing bright,” Trump said.
“In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny.
“We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”
Trump walked in with the anticipation of his acquittal in the Republican-led Senate on Wednesday, as well as upward looking job approval numbers and a strong stock market.
Throughout the address, he highlighted the nation’s economic strength, including record-low unemployment, and stressed how much growth had occurred in the years since his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
“Our agenda is relentlessly pro-worker, pro-family, pro-growth, and, most of all, pro-American,” Trump said.
“We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting high our citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed.”
There were 16 standing ovations from GOP lawmakers before there was one bipartisan ovation, according to a CNN count, with both sides applauding guest Tony Rankins.
The Ohio native and Army veteran was homeless and on drugs before getting a job with a company that invests in Opportunity Zones, part of Trump’s tax cut plan.
Along with tax cuts, Trump cited deregulation and trade agreements, including his phase-one deal with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement signed last month, as part of his administration’s accomplishments.
Following the killing of Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Trump also declared: “We are working to end America’s wars in the Middle East.”
The president addressed the nation on the day after the chaotic Iowa caucuses, which would have marked the first step in picking the Democrat who will face-off against him in November.
In advance of his address, Trump tweeted that: “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like [when] they ran the Country.”
And he used his remarks to set out a vision for his second-term and continued to rail against Democrats and their proposed expansion of healthcare during his remarks.
“We will never let socialism destroy American healthcare!” Trump declared.
The line was a straight shot at the Medicare for All proposals of two of Trump’s possible opponents in the 2020 presidential election, Sens. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts.
Democrats could also be heard laughing when Trump said his administration had been taking on big pharmaceutical companies.
As Trump spoke on the topic, Democratic lawmakers — in “suffragette” white — stood and chanted “HR 3” in reference to a bill that would lower drug costs.
Several of them booed as well, including when Trump mentioned immigration reforms and bashed sanctuary cities.
Pelosi could be seen shaking her head at some of his remarks.
Some Democrats — such as liberal firebrand New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — boycotted the address in protest of Trump.
As Trump was ending his one hour and 18 minute speech, Pence stood up to lead the House chamber into applause.
But Pelosi grabbed her paper copy of the speech and — in full view of the television cameras — tore it in half.
She then grabbed more papers and ripped those up, too.
The White House responded with a statement saying Pelosi had just ripped up the stories of the guests Trump had mentioned and pointed to during his address, adding: “That’s her legacy.”
Asked by reporters why she’d torn up the paper, Pelosi said: “it was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternative.
Additional reporting Steven Nelson