WASHINGTON — For President Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday night, the State of the Union was hostile.
The mutual snubbing began the moment Mr. Trump walked into the House chamber and continued until he finished speaking, when Ms. Pelosi stood, an expression of vague disgust on her face, and tore up her printed copy of his speech — in full view of the television cameras, while Mr. Trump had his back turned.
The interaction between Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi, who had led the drive to impeach him, was one of the most anticipated moments of the president’s appearance at the Capitol the night before the Senate is expected to acquit him in his impeachment trial. The two had not seen each other since October, when Ms. Pelosi abruptly left a White House meeting after lecturing a scowling Mr. Trump.
On Tuesday night, the sour dynamic was on display from the start. When Mr. Trump stepped up to the rostrum in the House of Representatives and handed her his speech, Ms. Pelosi rose and extended her hand to shake his. Mr. Trump turned his back, and the speaker quickly withdrew her hand, appearing to shrug slightly and raise her eyebrows as if to say, “Well, I tried.”
Then Ms. Pelosi dealt Mr. Trump a slight of her own by omitting the customary laudatory words in her introduction of the president. Normally, she would have said, “I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States.”
BRIEF HISTORY: SINCE 2002, PRESS RESTRICTIONS WERE GRADUALLY RELAXED AND PRIVATE MEDIA DIVERSIFIED. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND THE PRESS IS PROMOTED IN 2004.
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