As President Trump delivered his State of the Union address to Congress on Feb. 4, Americans around the country tuned in, hoping to gain a better understanding of the current political atmosphere; however, what they were met with was a dramatic display of partisanship from both sides of the aisle.
The speech was delivered in the midst of the impeachment trial just days before the president’s acquittal, and tensions were high from start to finish, culminating with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tearing her copy of the speech to shreds.
The Trump presidency has been marked by a level of vitriol seemingly unmatched by any other era of American politics, and the 2020 State of the Union did not diverge from the trend.
A number of Democratic congresspeople made their stand by choosing not to attend the event in hope that the impeachment articles would soon be passed. Contrastingly, the Republicans chanted, “Four more years!” as President Trump took the stage.
Next, Nancy Pelosi reached out for a handshake, which the President seemed to ignore. This was followed by Nancy Pelosi breaking tradition by omitting the phrase, “High privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States” when introducing President Trump, according to Business Insider news reporter, David Choi. The night was shaping up to be an event revolving around division and polarization.
The President went on to explain that America has returned to its exceptional status and that “The state of the Union is strong.” He highlighted the strength of the economy, trade relations with China and the military success in the Middle East.
One moment that both parties applauded for was the presence of Juan Guaido, the U.S.-backed Democratic political leader in Venezuela. According to NPR reporters in “What We Learned from Trump’s State of the Union Address,” President Trump used this as a stepping stone to discuss the pitfalls of socialism that have devastated Venezuela. Trump explained how this ideology poses a threat to the U.S., taking shots at Bernie Sanders, the current front-runner in the Democratic primary.
Throughout the speech, there were a few moments when Democrats and Republicans gave a standing ovation, showing support for specific content of the speech. Noah Weiland, a New York Times reporter, said most of these instances were related to military and veteran affairs, including the presence of one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen and the heartwarming scene of a military family reuniting.
While most individuals in the room were filled with pride for their country, Speaker Pelosi was filled with disdain for the president. As leader of the impeachment articles, she did not hesitate to express her dissatisfaction with the president.
This is what consumed her mind when she tore the speech to shreds. She was not thinking of Sgt. First Class Townsend Williams, the brave soldier who serves the people of the nation, or Charles McGee the legendary Tuskegee Airman, or the booming U.S. economy.
Instead, she chose to show her deep rooted partisan-backed hostility. The message she sent to the public is that she has no interest in the unifying aspects of our nation. It seems that as long as Donald Trump is president, Nancy Pelosi will never be satisfied with the state of the union.
Written By: Joseph Watson, junior international studies major