President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday night renewed their hostility during the former’s delivery of State of the Union address on the floor of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, where he was impeached in December.
It all started before Trump began speaking at the podium on the floor of the House, when he appeared to snub the outstretched hand of Mrs. Pelosi, America’s most powerful elected Democrat.
The House speaker, critics noticed, then skipped the traditional introduction welcoming the president as a “distinct honour” and at one point, ripped up a copy of Trump speech behind him.
But, the President, in his address, hailed the “great American comeback” in the speech that exposed sharp divisions at the top of U.S. politics.
Trump set out his case for another four years in office in the nationally televised speech.
He did not mention impeachment at all in his speech although he did jab at Democrats.
Republican lawmakers chanted “four more years” as Trump prepared to speak, urging him on for November’s White House election.
The State of the Union address is a speech delivered by the president to Congress towards the beginning of each calendar year in office.
It is usually used as a chance to report on the condition of the nation, but also allows the president to outline a legislative agenda and national priorities.
Mrs. Pelosi has been one of the president’s fiercest critics – she was the one who first launched formal impeachment efforts last year. Trump has frequently taunted her as “Crazy Nancy”.
It was the first time the two had come face-to-face since she stormed out of a White House meeting four months ago.
When the president accused Democrats of planning to force American taxpayers to provide unlimited free healthcare to undocumented immigrants, Mrs. Pelosi was observed twice mouthing: “Not true.”
She stunned onlookers by shredding a copy of the president’s remarks as he concluded.
Mrs. Pelosi told reporters afterwards her gesture was “the courteous thing to do, considering the alternatives”.
She did rise to applaud the president more than once, including when he promoted his pet project of infrastructure investment, a possible area of bipartisan co-operation.
Trump struck an upbeat note in a speech lasting one hour and 18 minutes that contrasted sharply with his lament of “American carnage” in his 2017 inaugural presidential address.