President Donald Trump delivered his third State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 4, and he mentioned everything from unemployment to Iran in his remarks. But one moment from Trump's speech that has gotten a lot of attention didn't actually involve him speaking. After the president wrapped up his address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up Trump's State of the Union speech, prompting mixed reactions from Twitter users.
As NBC News pointed out, Pelosi's choice to rip up Trump's speech was unprecedented, but it certainly reflected the ongoing tension between the two leaders. In fact, before Trump delivered his speech, Pelosi appeared to offer her hand to him for a handshake, but he turned away without reciprocating. Pelosi and Trump have been butting heads ever since she resumed her position as House Speaker following the historic 2018 midterm elections. Back in 2019, Pelosi initially canceled Trump's State of the Union speech that year amid a partial government shutdown (it was later rescheduled), and Trump has accused Pelosi of enacting a partisan sham for pursuing impeachment proceedings against him.
In a statement released shortly after Trump's speech, Pelosi did not explicitly address her choice to tear up his remarks, but she did comment on the president's "manifesto of mistruths."
"The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people," Pelosi said in her statement. "The American people expect and deserve a President to have integrity and respect for the aspirations for their children."
Whatever Pelosi's intentions were, Twitter was quickly filled with tweets and memes about her ripping up Trump's speech. Some Twitter users praised the House Speaker for standing up to Trump.
A few Twitter users likened Pelosi's actions with ripping up other, equally distasteful documents.
The reception that Pelosi got for ripping up Trump's speech was not entirely positive, however. Some conservative Trump supporters, including members of his administration, took to Twitter to slam Pelosi for her actions, suggesting that the speech was a part of the historical record.
Pelosi also faced some criticism from progressives, who urged to go beyond ripping up Trump's speech, and called on her to resist his administration in more tangible ways.
Despite the mixed reactions that Twitter users had to Pelosi's actions, it quickly became clear that one of the most memorable parts of Trump's State of the Union address wasn't even his actual speech. Like in 2019, when Pelosi's sarcastic applause went viral, images of the House Speaker ripping up Trump's speech quickly dominated headlines. For many Democrats, Pelosi's actions on Tuesday night reflected the frustration they were all feeling, especially given that Trump was expected to be acquitted during the conclusion of his impeachment trial the very next day.
Trump's State of the Union came at a hectic time for American politics. Not only was his impeachment trial still ongoing, but also the 2020 primaries kicked off that same week with the Iowa caucuses, of which the results have still not been finalized. Who knows what Americans will see tomorrow.