President Donald Trump ignored – or didn’t see – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to shake his hand before Tuesday’s State of the Union address in an apparent snub that comes more than a month after House Democrats impeached Trump.
Immediately after Trump finished his speech, the California Democrat stood up behind him and ripped her copy of the speech in half before tossing it aside. A source close to Pelosi told CNN’s Dana Bash that the speaker ripping up her copy of the speech was not planned and that Pelosi was angry at Trump’s address.
While it remains unclear whether the President avoided Pelosi’s handshake on purpose, tension between the White House and the California Democrat has heightened considerably in recent months after the House – under Pelosi’s leadership — investigated Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine. In December, House Democrats approved two articles of impeachment against Trump.
A Trump adviser told CNN’s Jim Acosta that by apparently ignoring Pelosi the President missed an opportunity to heal a divided nation.
“The country seems very, very divided but I think Trump made a mistake not shaking her hand,” the adviser said, while also faulting “the Democrats by being so silent and not clapping on even nonpartisan lines.”
Following the speech, Pelosi tweeted, “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.”
Pelosi confirmed to CNN earlier Tuesday that she hasn’t spoken to the President since the infamous White House Syria meeting in October, following which the White House released a picture of her standing up and pointing at him, which she immediately owned and placed prominently on her Twitter page.
“You mean where he circulated the picture of my saying ‘All roads lead to Putin,’ that one? Is that what we’re talking about? … We haven’t spoken since then,” Pelosi said.
The lack of communication between Trump and Pelosi is especially striking given the high-profile events that have taken place since that time, including the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
On Sunday, Trump said he will likely have a difficult time working with Democrats after his expected acquittal in the five-month impeachment saga on Wednesday.
“I’d like to, but it’s pretty hard when you think about it, because it’s been — I use the word witch hunt, I use the word hoax. I see the hatred. I see the — they don’t care about fairness, they don’t care about lying,” Trump told Fox News.
“You look at the lies, you look at the reports that were done that were so false. The level of hypocrisy. I’m not sure that they can do it, to be honest. I think they just want to win, and it doesn’t matter how they win.”