WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed President Trump’s State of the Union address and defended ripping up a copy of the speech, saying his remarks were more reflective of “his state of mind” than the actual state of the country. Pelosi spoke to reporters at the Capitol the day after the Senate voted to acquit the president on two articles of impeachment.
The long-running feud between Pelosi and Mr. Trump was on display Tuesday during the president’s annual address, when he spurned an handshake offer from Pelosi, who then proceeded to conspicuously tear her copy of the address in half after the speech.
On Thursday, Pelosi accused Mr. Trump of insulting Congress and disrespecting the House chamber.
“As you know, this week we had the State of the Union. As required by the Constitution of the United States, the president is to submit in writing or in person his statement of the state of the union,” Pelosi said. “What happened instead was the president using the Congress of the United States as the backdrop for a reality show, presenting a state of mind that had no contact with reality whatsoever.”
“That was not a State of the Union. That was his state of mind,” Pelosi continued.
She also said it was “appalling” that Mr. Trump claimed he was protecting health coverage for preexisting conditions, given his administration’s support for policies that would eliminate protections.
“It was appalling to hear him try to take credit and call what President Obama did ‘a mess that he inherited,’” Pelosi said about Mr. Trump’s speech, in which he insinuated that the economy had stagnated under the previous administration.
Pelosi had been critical of the Senate’s handling of the impeachment trial, but praised Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote to convict Mr. Trump on the first article of impeachment. Romney voted not guilty on the second article.
“Yesterday the Senate acted, the first time in history that a senator has voted against his own president in a decision regarding impeachment,” Pelosi said. “God bless him for his courage.”
Pelosi said Mr. Trump’s legacy will always bear the “scar” of impeachment, regardless of his acquittal.
“He’s impeached forever, no matter what he says or whatever headlines he wants to carry around,” she said. “You’re impeached forever. You’re never getting rid of that scar. And history will always record that you were impeached for undermining the security of our country, jeopardizing the integrity of our elections and violating the Constitution of the United States.”
The speaker said there were “no plans” to subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton in the House’s continuing investigation. Bolton was willing to appear before the Senate under subpoena, but resisted previous efforts by the House to obtain his testimony.
Pelosi also responded to Mr. Trump’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning, where he implicitly condemned Romney, who had said his decision to vote to convict the president was guided by his belief in God. The president also took an indirect shot at Pelosi in his speech, accusing her of being disingenuous for previously saying that she prays for the president.
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that’s not so,” Mr. Trump said.
In her press conference, Pelosi called his comments at the breakfast “completely inappropriate.”
“I don’t know what he understands about people who pray, but we do pray,” Pelosi said. “He can say whatever he wants, but I do pray for him, and I do so sincerely and without anguish.”
“I thought what he said about Romney was particularly without class,” she continued.