Pelosi tears into Trump's rip-roaring speech

Central Station | 6 Feb 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of Donald Trump's State of the Union address after listening tight-lipped as the US president listed his achievements.

The tension between Trump and his Democratic nemesis was palpable from the outset. Pelosi reached for a handshake, and the president appeared to ignore her.

Seated behind the president alongside Vice President Mike Pence in the House of Representatives, Pelosi repeatedly shook her head and smiled disbelievingly until Trump finished speaking and Republicans erupted in applause.

Then she rose and very visibly tore up the speech papers.

Pelosi, 79, said later "it was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternatives."

Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House six weeks ago, and the flashpoint with Pelosi came a day before the US Senate is all but certain to vote to acquit him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

During the impeachment process, Trump, 73, has repeatedly assailed the speaker as "crazy Nancy."

Pelosi's gesture capped a night where the political divide was on full display.

Trump's address earned a triumphant reception from Republicans but sullen silence, boos and jeers from Democrats.

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