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Americans are torn over whether Nancy Pelosi ripping up her copy of President Trump’s State of the Union speech right after the address was a petty act of disrespect, or a political power move.
Many Trump supporters and Republicans blasted the gesture. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the move “petty.” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) tweeted that Pelosi “had a tantrum, disgraced herself and dishonored the house” in an act that was “disgraceful” and “unbecoming” of her office. Hashtags including #NancytheRipper and #PelosiTantrum were trending most of Wednesday morning.
The White House responded by sharing a statement on its verified Twitter account that likened Pelosi’s move to insulting the night’s honored guests, including one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. The post, which drew more than 25,000 comments and 141,000 likes and counting by Wednesday morning, added, “That’s her legacy.”
Pelosi later told reporters that tearing the speech was “the most courteous thing to do, considering the alternative. It was such a dirty speech.” She also called Trump’s speech a “manifesto of mistruths” in a statement released later in the evening.
Her supporters rallied behind her, with some calling her a “queen,” and others claiming that Trump himself has displayed behavior that has been criticized as rude or unbecoming of his office — including what appeared to be the president snubbing the speaker’s handshake right before the SOTU on Tuesday night.
Pro-Pelosi hashtags such as #RipItUp and #NancyPelosiROCKS also began trending on Wednesday, even as the impeachment verdict was expected later in the day.
Still others bemoaned that the Pelosi-Trump feuding during what was supposed to be a unifying address shows that the state of the union is a country more angry and divided than ever.
Related: Trump hammers Democrats on health care, touts economy in State of the Union speech