The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

The State of the Union address is no place for childishness

3 min read

"Nancy Pelosi rips her copy of Trumps speech." (Erin Schaff | NYT | Redux)


Staff Writer

The State of the Union is a means of relaying the status of our nation. However, this year it was corrupted by the petty dispute between two individuals, President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The event began as it normally does, with an introduction followed by the entrance of the president. The first spurn of the evening occurred when Trump did not shake Pelosi’s offered hand. At the close of the speech, Pelosi ripped Trump’s speech in half. This stage should not be a place for personal politics, all members involved should be treated with respect. This speech is designed to inform the American people on the State of the Union not the state of Trump and Pelosi’s relationship.

Whether or not Trump purposefully declined to shake the speaker’s hand, both actions were disrespectful to the institution that they represent and the American people. Not shaking someone’s hand is a sure signal that you have no respect for them, which is not acceptable considering the relationship that the two are required to have. On the other side, Pelosi cannot allow her personal feelings to manifest in such a way. Her feelings are justifiable and her follow up statements regarding the matter are as well, however, it is incredibly rude to have done that on the national stage as she did.

“I feel that her actions were childish, and I’m not surprised by them at all. I think she is a selfish politician who is only interested in furthering herself and her party at the expense of American citizens,” said senior biology major Lewis Grant.

Pelosi has stated that she “tore up a manifesto of mistruths” and that “it was necessary to get the attention of the American people.” Her actions are very similar to those of her opposition, President Trump, and should be something she is trying to fight against, even if it is something that many Americans can agree with.

“Nancy Pelosi’s actions showed how divided America currently is. Her actions express the feelings that many Americans are currently having with the president and his cabinet, they/we are tired and fed up with the lies and half-truths. Donald Trump purposely did not shake her hand because he dislikes anyone or anything that goes against him.” said junior history and sociology major Kyree Ford.

Although the speech has many glaring inaccuracies, due to the speaker’s actions much more news time was devoted to discussing her as opposed to the issues at hand. If she was so interested in the inaccuracies of the speech, she should not have fed the ever-hungry mouths of the mainstream media.

This is not the first time that the two have had a dispute, and was in fact nearly predictable. The relationship, though tension plentiful, has lacked integrity and respect from both sides for years.

Whether Trump purposefully declined Pelosi’s hand or if he simply didn’t see it remains unsure. Everyone interviewed believed it was intentional. One potential reason for not shaking her hand was offered by junior Alec Charoenthep, “he didn’t shake Pence’s hand so maybe he wasn’t expecting it.”

“Trump didn’t shake her hand on purpose because Pelosi, at every chance she gets, bad mouths and degrades him constantly. If I was in his position I would have done the same, if I’m not respected then I won’t respect you back,” said freshman Rob Gambrino II.

At the end of the day what has happened is in the past, now it is up to both sides to attempt to move on and forge a better relationship. Everyone’s had a fight that made a relationship better, although it is much more common for that to go the other way. It seems incredibly unlikely but maybe the two will be better off after this. If there’s one thing they can unite on it should be the American people and making this nation a better place.

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