House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., demonstratively ripped up her copy of Donald Trump's State of the Union speech moments after he concluded it on Tuesday, explaining her gesture to Fox News later by saying “it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives”.
In response, the White House referenced several of the guests of honour that the President had introduced during his State of the Union address.
"Speaker Pelosi just ripped up: One of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. The survival of a child born at 21 weeks. The mourning families of Rocky Jones and Kayla Mueller. A service member's reunion with his family… That's her legacy,” the White House tweeted.
Speaker Pelosi just ripped up:— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 5, 2020
One of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
The survival of a child born at 21 weeks.
The mourning families of Rocky Jones and Kayla Mueller.
A service member's reunion with his family.
That's her legacy.
Earlier, as he handed copies of his speech to Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence, Trump appeared to snub the House Speaker when she attempted to shake his hand.
Nancy Pelosi's official Twitter account posted a stream of attacks on the president and his speech, calling him "a liar" and lashing out at him for taking credit for the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal without acknowledging Pelosi's contribution to it.
What Trump meant to say is that under Nancy's leadership, Democrats rewrote & passed an improved economic trade agreement that contains the strongest enforcement mechanisms – securing pivotal victories for workers, lower prescription drug costs & environmental protections. #SOTU— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) February 5, 2020
The current visible display of contempt between the two come after Pelosi spearheaded the impeachment proceedings in the Democrat-led House against Donald Trump, accusing him of using his office to force a foreign country to investigate his political rivals and then obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or let staffers testify.
The House of Representatives subsequently voted to impeach Trump on the two impeachment articles - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - on 18 December.
The current State of the Union speech comes as Trump is expected to be acquitted in the final vote of the Senate impeachment trial on Wednesday.
State of the Union Speech
Donald Trump delivered the last annual State of the Union address of his first presidential term before a joint session of the US Congress on 5 February.
While he did not directly touch upon the impeachment drama in this year’s speech, Trump publicly challenged the Democrats on policy grounds and lashed out at socialists.
The US President struck an upbeat note, as he declared that his country was moving ahead at a “pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago”, saying:
"In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America's destiny."
Hinting at the failings of his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump said:
"If we had not reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration, the world would not now be witness to America's great economic success."
"Under the last administration, more than 10 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Under my administration, 7 million Americans have come off of food stamps, and 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare," continued Trump.
"We are moving forward and we are never going back!"
Trump on Dangers of ‘Socialist Takeover of Healthcare’
"As we work to improve Americans' health care, there are those who want to take away your health care, take away your doctor, and abolish private insurance entirely," Donald Trump said.
"One hundred thirty-two lawmakers in this room have endorsed legislation to impose a socialist takeover of our healthcare system, wiping out the private health insurance plans of 180 million Americans. To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know: We will never let socialism destroy American health care," said Trump.
The President went on to say that the Democrats wanted to pay for illegal immigrants' health care.
"This is what is happening in California and other States -- their systems are totally out of control, costing taxpayers vast and unaffordable amounts of money," Trump said.
The President lambasted the "sanctuary city" policies that offered illegal immigrants protection from federal immigration authorities.
"Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal illegal aliens… The State of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole State to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants -- with catastrophic results," Trump said.
Trump commended the work of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), saying the agency "has arrested over 5,000 wicked human traffickers -- and I have signed 9 pieces of legislation to stamp out the menace of human trafficking, domestically and around the globe."
President Hails ‘Blue-Collar Boom’
As the US President hailed the “stronger than ever” state of the union, Trump declared that since his election the net worth of the bottom half of wage-earners had increased by 47 percent.
"After decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast -- and, wonderfully, they are rising fastest for low-income workers, who have seen a 16 percent pay increase since my election. This is a blue-collar boom," declared Trump.
The president cited some impressive unemployment statistics.
"The unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans have reached the lowest levels in history. African-American youth unemployment has reached an all-time low. African-American poverty has declined to the lowest rate ever recorded. The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years -- and last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added.”
Trump hails New Trade Pact
President Trump touted the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is replacing the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as promising to accelerate job growth.
Trump lambasted the “disastrous” NAFTA deal, vowing the new agreement “will create nearly 100,000 new high-paying American auto jobs, and massively boost exports for our farmers, ranchers, and factory workers.”
"It will also bring trade with Mexico and Canada to a much higher degree, but also to a much greater level of fairness and reciprocity. This is the first major trade deal in many years to earn the strong backing of America's labour unions."