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House Democrats shut down GOP attempt to admonish Pelosi over ripping SOTU

Party-line vote tables resolution disapproving of speaker's actions

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats on Thursday backed Speaker Nancy Pelosi in voting to kill a Republican resolution to disapprove of her ripping up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech. 

Texas GOP Rep. Kay Granger, who’s facing a competitive primary this cycle, offered the resolution as a question of privilege, which forces the House to consider the measure. Rather than allow an up or down vote, Democratic leaders moved to table the resolution, which effectively kills it.

The motion to table was adopted, 224-193, along party lines. Independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan voted with the Democrats to kill the resolution. 

[Pelosi defends ripping Trump’s speech as message to American people about SOTU falsehoods]

Granger’s resolution notes that Pelosi ripped up an official copy of Trump’s SOTU speech, which included the names and stories of “American heroes and their families” that have made sacrifices on behalf of the country. 

“Whereas the conduct of Speaker Pelosi was a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House: Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the House of Representatives disapproves of the behavior of Speaker Pelosi,” the resolution reads. 

Earlier Thursday, Pelosi defended her conduct without specifically addressing Granger’s resolution. 

“I don’t need any lessons from anybody, especially the president of the United States, about dignity,” she said. 

Pelosi criticized Republicans for their conduct during SOTU, saying it was “a serious breach to start shouting four more years on the floor of the House — totally inappropriate.” The chant Republican lawmakers started Tuesday as the president entered the House chamber for SOTU is most common at Trump’s reelection rallies.

As to her own behavior in ripping up the speech, Pelosi said it was the “courteous” way in which she could signal to the American people that Trump’s speech was a “manifesto of mistruths.”

“I thought that was very dignified,” she said. 

House Democrats on Wednesday gave Pelosi a standing ovation as she talked about the decision during their weekly caucus meeting, saying she felt “liberated,” a word she repeated again to reporters on Thursday. 

Republicans, meanwhile, panned her actions as a “tantrum” that was “unbecoming” of the speaker of the House. 

A few Democrats, however, publicly disapproved of Pelosi tearing up Trump’s speech. Utah freshman Rep. Ben McAdams called it “disrespectful.” 

“We deserve better than partisan games and partisan symbolism. That’s not how my parents brought me up to behave and the American people deserve better than that,” he said on KSL Newsradio. “I think that was very disappointing.”

Still, no Democrats voted with Republicans against tabling the resolution to formally disapprove of Pelosi tearing up the speech.

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