Could this be a turning point of sorts? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surprised many observers Tuesday night when she punctuated Donald Trump’s lie-laden State of the Union address with an unceremonious rebuke.
“He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech,” Pelosi said Wednesday morning, according to Politico, explaining why she tore up a copy of Trump’s speech at the conclusion of the address. As Pelosi relayed to her caucus the motivation behind her uncharacteristic break with decorum, her remarks suggested that she might be opening a new, more pointed chapter in her post-impeachment relationship with Trump. She told her Democratic caucus members she felt “liberated” by tearing up Trump’s words in front of a national audience.
“She said that he disgraced the House of Representatives by using it as a backdrop for a reality show,” Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth told Politico.
Echoing Pelosi’s sentiments, Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson called Trump’s theatrics during the speech—such as awarding rancid radio host Rush Limbaugh with the medal of honor—a “disgraceful display.”
“He dishonored the State of the Union as an institutional practice,” Rep. Johnson said. “It was kind of outright pandering to his base.”
Democratic members described Pelosi as frustrated by Trump’s speech, which leaves one wondering if she might really take off the gloves in the months leading up to November. Pelosi is a loyal student of public opinion and polls suggest the public continues to be on the side of Democrats in so far as impeachment goes and their bid to get witnesses included in the Senate trial.
But after Republican senators seal Trump’s acquittal later on Wednesday, Pelosi will still have cards to play, including subpoenaing former national security adviser John Bolton or even indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who apparently has a trove of receipts.
Whatever Pelosi’s mood, she clearly has options, likely including some the public isn’t even aware of.