This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) drew widespread criticism for tearing up a copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech immediately after he finished delivering the address. While many have said her actions were inappropriate and disrespectful, Trump contends that they were actually unlawful, The Hill reports.
“I thought it was a terrible thing,” the president said to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday. “It’s illegal what she did. She broke the law.”
Legal, ethical questions remain
Some legal experts question whether Pelosi’s act really did constitute a violation of the law. The Hill quoted former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner as saying, “The federal law prohibiting the destruction of public records or government documents does not apply.”
Legal analyst Elie Honig agreed, stating, “The law isn’t meant to criminalize destruction of copies of ceremonial documents.”
Yet while Pelosi may not be in legal jeopardy, many still want her to face serious consequences for her actions. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told Fox News personality Laura Ingraham that he “will be filing charges against Nancy Pelosi in the House Ethics Committee.”
“She disgraced the House of Representatives,” Gaetz complained, adding, “We ought to apply the same standards to the Democrats that they want to apply to us, and there will be an ethics investigation of Nancy Pelosi, and we will start the ball rolling to have her censured, and the first act begins tomorrow.”
Gaetz recalled the fact that former Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina was formally rebuked in a resolution of disapproval by the House for shouting “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during a speech to a joint session of Congress in 2009. Wilson subsequently apologized for the outburst.
In contrast, Pelosi has offered no such apology, and Gaetz says he is “sick of the double standard.”
Meanwhile, Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar has pledged to introduce a resolution censuring the House speaker, according to the Washington Examiner. Gosar represents the home district of the parents of a woman murdered by ISIS whom Trump honored in his address.
Trump didn’t stop at condemning Pelosi’s State of the Union actions, however, as he also doubt on her personal character.
“Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person. And she wanted to impeach a long time ago,” the president declared on Thursday afternoon, according to the Washington Post.
Trump also questioned Pelosi’s self-proclaimed commitment to her Catholic faith, stating, “She may pray, but she prays for the opposite. But I doubt she prays at all.”