Law professor: Pelosi should step down over conduct at SOTU address

Back in December, noted attorney and legal scholar Jonathan Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee during President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry.

During his appearance, Turley advised Democrats that Trump’s July 2019 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky didn’t amount to an impeachable offense. This week, the George Washington University law professor offered them some more advice: tell Nancy Pelosi to step down over her behavior during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

“The House has its share of infamies, great and small, real and symbolic, and has been the scene of personal infamies from brawls to canings,” Turley began in a Wednesday opinion piece for the Hill.

He went on: “But the conduct of Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the State of the Union address this week will go down as a day of infamy for the chamber as an institution.”

“Shredded decades of tradition”

The “conduct” in question was Pelosi’s decision to make “sophomoric facial grimaces,” shake her head, and finally, tear up a copy of the president’s speech on live television.

Turley characterized that final act as her “drop the mic moment” and predicted that it will “will have a lasting impact on the House.”

“While many will celebrate her trolling of the president, she tore up something far more important than a speech,” Turley argued. “Pelosi has shredded decades of tradition, decorum, and civility that the nation could use now more than ever.”

Turley offered criticism of Trump as well, citing his choice not to shake Pelosi’s hand as well as what some characterized as the reality television-style “check under your seat moments” of the address. However, he noted that the speaker set a combative tone early on by not introducing the president properly.

Time to resign

“First, Pelosi dropped the traditional greeting before the start of the address, ‘Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States,’” Turley notes.

He continued: “Instead, she simply announced, ‘Members of Congress, the president of the United States,'” something he described as “extremely petty and profoundly inappropriate.”

Turley insisted that his take on Pelosi’s performance has nothing to do with party and emphasized that he “wrote a column denouncing Republican Representative Joe Wilson, who shouted ‘you lie!’ at Obama during his State of the Union address in 2009.”

The renowned legal scholar concluded by declaring that with regard to the speakership, Pelosi has “forfeited the right to occupy that office. If Pelosi cannot maintain the dignity and neutrality of her office at the State of the Union, she should resign as the speaker of the House of Representatives,” he wrote.

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