In an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” the vice president said he “wasn’t sure if she was ripping up the speech or ripping up the Constitution” when he saw Pelosi’s gesture.
“I didn’t see her do it; I found out just a few moments later. And I thought it was a new low,” he added.
Pence says Pelosi ripping up Trump’s SOTU speech was “a new low.” pic.twitter.com/DyMUz9tH4V
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 5, 2020
As Trump’s speech ended on Tuesday night, Pelosi tore the printed speech in half and set it down as the president made his way off the podium to greet members of Congress.
Pelosi later told reporters that tearing the speech “was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives.”
“It was such a dirty speech,” she added.
Pelosi has faced considerable criticism from conservatives following the move. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called the gesture “petty.”
“How petty of Pelosi. Ripping up a piece of paper doesn’t change the facts that were written on it — Americans are winning, in spite of the do-nothing Democrats,” he tweeted.
How petty of Pelosi. Ripping up a piece of paper doesn’t change the facts that were written on it—Americans are winning, in spite of the do-nothing Democrats.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) February 5, 2020
Pelosi’s actions come after it appeared the president ignored the Speaker’s attempt to shake his hand at the beginning of the speech.
The speech took place weeks after the House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It also came one day before the GOP-controlled Senate is likely to vote to acquit him of the impeachment charges.
Updated at 11:30 a.m. to correctly refer to McCarthy as the Minority Leader.