Pelosi defends speech-ripping as protesting 'falsehoods'

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference the morning after the impeachment of President Donald Trump ended in acquittal, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her speech-ripping performance after President Donald Trump's State of the Union address and took fresh aim at his fitness for office even as he celebrated his impeachment acquittal.

“That was not a State of the Union,” Pelosi said. “That was his state of mind.”

Pelsoi said she felt "very vindicated'' by her shredding of a paper copy of Trump's speech, an action that incensed Republicans and led to a GOP-sponsored resolution of disapproval.

“The conduct of Speaker Pelosi was a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House,” the resolution read. Majority Democrats turned it aside on Thursday afternoon.

It was the end of a difficult week for Democrats in Congress and across the nation, beginning with the botched Iowa caucuses on Monday. Trump had the bully pulpit — and nearly solid Republican support behind him — on Pelosi's turf during his Tuesday State of the Union address. The next day, the Senate acquitted him of the House impeachment that Pelosi had led.

By Thursday, Trump was waving banner newspaper headlines reading, “Acquittal” and celebrating the vindication at an hour-plus White House news conference.

Back in the Capitol, Pelosi again went after Trump's speech and defended her decision to rip up her copy behind his back, on camera. She said the address revealed "a state of mind that had no contact with reality whatsoever.”

“I've extended every possible courtesy. I've shown every level of respect,” Pelosi said, describing her public conduct, which included “extending the hand of friendship” to him as Trump arrived. “He looked a little sedated,” she said.