House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he has no plans to tear up President Biden’s State of the Union speech, a stunt former Speaker Nancy Pelosi pulled at the end of Trump’s final State of the Union speech in 2020.
McCarthy will sit with Vice President Kamala Harris behind Biden during the State of the Union address tonight, and he tweeted Tuesday that “a lot of people have been asking” if he would repeat Pelosi’s move from three years ago. But McCarthy said it won’t happen.
“I don’t believe in the theatrics of tearing up speeches,” McCarthy said in a video accompanying his tweet. “I respect the other side, I can disagree on policy. But I want to make sure this country is stronger, economically sound, energy independent, secure and accountable.”
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In 2020, Pelosi stunned millions of viewers by standing up at the end of Trump’s remarks and ripping up his remarks. Pelosi and other Democrats were mad that Trump said the U.S. must fight socialism and various left-wing policies.
Pelosi later said she ripped up the speech “because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives,” and said she was “trying to find one page with truth on it” but “couldn’t.”
The Trump White House responded by noting the speech she ripped up included references to the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, a service member’s reunion with his family and other references about Americans and moments that both sides celebrate.
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Then-Vice President Mike Pence argued that Trump spent 90 minutes making the speech about America, and then Pelosi “in the final moments tried to make it about her.”
McCarthy has used his first few weeks as House speaker to argue that it’s time for both parties to rally around common objectives.
On Jan. 10, more than two-thirds of House Democrats joined with Republicans to create a new House committee to examine the U.S. strategic relationship with China. Two days later, more than half of House Democrats joined the GOP to pass a bill banning the sale of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China.
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And in the last several weeks, McCarthy has been calling on Biden to negotiate with the GOP on how to raise the debt ceiling in a way that cuts back federal spending before the $31.4 trillion national debt overwhelms the country.
On Monday, McCarthy said it’s time for him and Biden to “get to work” on a debt ceiling deal, a request to talk that has so far been rejected by the Biden White House.
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