House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats in a closed-door caucus meeting on Wednesday morning that she “shredded” the President’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night because Trump “shredded the truth” in his address, according to one person in the room.
In a dramatic move captured on camera, Pelosi ripped up her copy of the President’s speech after he concluded the annual address to Congress. Earlier in the night, the President appeared to snub the House Speaker by ignoring her attempt at a handshake.
Pelosi slammed the speech in the Democrats’ closed-door caucus meeting, explaining why she tore it up afterward, according to multiple sources in the room.
Pelosi was fired up in the meeting, the sources said, and she told her members that the speech was “a disgrace” for having so many falsehoods in it.
“He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech,” Pelosi said, according to one person in the room.
She said she felt “liberated” because she felt the speech was so outrageous, according to two sources.
Pelosi cited Trump’s decision to award the Medal of Freedom to conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh in the middle of the speech as an example of how Trump turned the State of the Union into a reality show and campaign speech.
The visible clash between Trump and Pelosi during the speech highlighted heightened tensions – and a deteriorating relationship – between the House speaker and the President on the eve of a final vote in the Senate impeachment trial where Trump is expected to be acquitted.
Pelosi and the President had not communicated in months, with Pelosi confirming to CNN earlier on Tuesday that she hadn’t spoken to Trump since a contentious White House Syria meeting in October, which led to yet another clash between the two leaders.
The House speaker and the White House were both quick to go on the offensive after the State of the Union on Wednesday.
Following the speech, Pelosi tweeted out a picture of her with her hand outstretched toward the President who appeared to be turning away from her. The caption said, “Democrats will never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done #ForThePeople. We will work to find common ground where we can, but will stand our ground where we cannot.”
The White House Twitter account posted its own message, with references to what the President had addressed in his speech.
It read: “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.”
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.