When President Donald Trump wrapped up his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, it was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unprecedented, unspoken reaction that stole the show.
As rapturous Republicans applauded, a stony-faced Pelosi stood behind the president, shuffled printed copies of his speech, and then ripped them in half. She tossed the torn pages in front of her, completing a made-for-GIF sequence that will no doubt dominate cable television postmortems of the president’s big night—an instant meme that rivals her sly sarcasm-clap at the last State of the Union.
Before he began his annual address to Congress tonight, the president appeared to snub Pelosi’s offer of a handshake, as he handed over a folder containing his speech.
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) February 5, 2020
A NBC producer tweeted out Pelosi’s words soon after. Asked why she tore up the speech, Pelosi said, “It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternative.”
Q: Why did you tear up the speech?
PELOSI: “Because it was the courteous thing to do.”
PELOSI: “It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternative.”
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) February 5, 2020
And here’s the GIF: