Irem UZUN -TDO- Donald Trump's State of the Union address was bookended by two dramatic encounters with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, beginning with the president appearing to reject her handshake and ending with Pelosi dramatically ripping up a copy of his speech. After the president concluded his 78-minute address, Pelosi ripped up the paper copy of his speech she had in front of her with a pointed flourish. Asked by reporters why she tore up the speech, she responded: "It was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternative." Elaborating later, she called the speech a "manifesto of mistruths" and said Trump's words "gave no comfort" to families looking for better healthcare options and he was "not truthful" about his healthcare policies.
The night got off to an awkward start when Pelosi - the most senior Democrat in Congress, who initiated the impeachment inquiry into Trump - extended her hand as the president approached to take his place at the podium. But Trump snubbed her, turning away without accepting it. Pelosi, who was seated along with the vice-president, Mike Pence, behind Trump's podium in the House chamber, merely smiled and sat down. It was the pair's first encounter since October, when Democrats had walked out of a meeting with Trump on Syria after he called her a "third-rate politician".
The White House responded quickly, accusing Pelosi of disrespecting the Americans that Trump had praised during his State of the Union address. From the Twitter page, it wrote: "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".