At her weekly briefing, the first following the president’s remarks, the Democratic House Speaker said she prayed “hard for him because he’s so off the track of our constitution, our values, our country, the air our children breathe”.
Ms Pelosi called Mr Trump’s Tuesday address a “backdrop for a reality show, presenting a state of mind that had no contact with reality whatsoever”. She slammed his remarks — repeating false claims about energy production, the economy, healthcare and immigration that he often makes at his campaign rallies — a “manifesto of untruths”, warning of the dangers of his unfiltered speeches should people believe what he says.
She said it was “appalling” and “so clearly untrue” that the president continues to claim that people with pre-existing conditions won’t be denied health insurance, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, “when in fact he has done everything to dismantle it”.
About ripping up her copy of his speech before he had even left the dais in the House chamber, Ms Pelosi said, “I feel very liberated.”
She said she had skimmed through “the compilation of falsehoods” in his speech when she was handed a copy, but she “started to think that there has to be something that clearly indicates to the American people that this is not the truth” before she ripped the speech as the president’s allies applauded his remarks.
The California Democrat reminded reporters her caucus’s top goals are reducing prescription drug prices, increasing wages and fostering a better-functioning federal apparatus. Two out of three, she predicted, are possible even amid the boiling bad blood with the president.
“Cleaner government, no,” Ms Pelosi said. “That’s not something that he or the [administration] has as a value.”
She vowed House Democrats will continue to do oversight and investigations of the Trump administration. A day earlier, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he has no intention of standing in the way of his GOP committee chairs who might want to probe Democrats.
The speaker took umbrage with remarks the president’s made earlier Thursday at a prayer breakfast event in Washington.
“I don’t like people who use their faith for justifying doing what they know is wrong,” Mr Trump said, alluding to Senator Mitt Romney, who was the lone Republican senator to vote with Democrats to remove him from office for abusing his power. Mr Romney said his Mormon faith, because he swore an oath to god before the impeachment trial, could do nothing but vote to remove Mr Trump.
Ms Pelosi said that comment was “particularly without class”.
“It’s so inappropriate at a prayer breakfast,” she said. “He’s talking about things he knows little about: faith and prayer.”
The president used his State of the Union to award the the Presidential Medal of Honour — the highest civilian honour in the US — to right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, who announced his advanced lung cancer diagnosis a day earlier. Ms Pelosi said Democrats were shocked when they realised the president wasn’t talking about John Lewis, the civil rights leader and Georgia congressman who announced his stage-four pancreatic cancer diagnosis last year.