Trump appears to ignore Pelosi’s handshake offer
President Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) shared a tense moment at the outset of Tuesday’s State of the Union address when Trump appeared to ignore Pelosi’s outstretched hand.
The president approached the dais after greeting members of Congress and handed a binder with his prepared remarks to Vice President Pence and Pelosi. After taking the binder, Pelosi extended her hand apparently for a handshake, but Trump turned away without acknowledging it.
Trump did not shake Pence’s hand either, though the vice president did not appear to extend his to greet the president.
Video of the moment quickly made the rounds on social media.
Unclear whether or not President Trump saw her, but Nancy Pelosi offered him a hand shake and he turned around. pic.twitter.com/LAfOoDik2n
— Liam Martin (@LiamWBZ) February 5, 2020
Moments before, Pelosi eschewed the usual introduction the president is given before the State of the Union address.
“Members of Congress, the president of the United States,” Pelosi announced as Trump reached the lectern. House speakers typically introduce the president by stating, “I have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the President of the United States.”
The tension between Pelosi and Trump was noticeable as the speech went on. The Speaker largely avoided looking at the president, instead keeping her eyes on his prepared remarks or looking around the room. She joined other Democrats in declining to stand and applaud for some of Trump’s accomplishments.
Pelosi acknowledged the handshake moment in a Twitter post after the speech.
“Democrats will never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done #ForThePeople,” she tweeted alongside an image of the exchange. “We will work to find common ground where we can, but will stand our ground where we cannot.”
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. #SOTU pic.twitter.com/ELJqR9q4xD
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 5, 2020
Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday marked the first time he and Pelosi were in a room together since an acrimonious White House meeting on Syria in October in which he belittled her as a “third-rate” politician.
Trump has assailed Pelosi with insults since she first announced in September that the House would pursue an impeachment inquiry, deriding her as “nervous,” “overrated” and questioning her mental acuity.
Pelosi has generally responded by saying she believes Trump is projecting his own insecurities, but has insisted she does not hate the president.
The House last month impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Pelosi and Trump had another viral moment in last year’s State of the Union when the Speaker was captured clapping for the president calling for an end to “revenge politics.”
— Updated at 10:13 p.m.
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