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A bitter feud between US President Donald Trump and top Democrat Nancy Pelosi boiled over at his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, with Trump snubbing her outstretched hand and Pelosi ripping apart a copy of the speech on camera.

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US President Donald Trump delivered his third annual State of the Union address Tuesday night on the eve of his expected acquittal on impeachment charges by the Senate. As Trump wrapped up his discourse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – seated behind him – tore her hard copy of his speech in half.

Trump spoke at the Capitol, the very building where the House of Representatives impeached him on December 18 on charges of obstructing Congress during its inquiry into the Ukraine aid scandal and abuse of presidential power.

This is the second State of the Union address in US history to be delivered by a president against the backdrop of an impeachment trial. Former president Bill Clinton delivered his 1999 address a month after having been impeached by the House on grounds of perjury to a grand jury and obstruction of justice related to his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The US president has delivered an annual speech since 1790, when George Washington was in office, though it has only been officially known as the “State of the Union” address since 1947, during Harry Trumans term.

As widely predicted, the elephant in the room – Trumps impeachment proceedings – went unmentioned.

Upon seeing Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, for the first time since she stormed out of a White House meeting four months ago, Trump declined to shake her outstretched hand as he gave her a copy of his speech.

Pelosi appeared taken aback. She avoided citing the customary "high privilege and distinct honour" that usually accompanies the speaker's formal introduction of the president to Congress.

As Trump took the podium, he was greeted with a standing ovation and a chant of “Four more years!” from some members of the crowd.

He listed several firsts and superlatives for which he claimed credit. During his term, he said, “the state of our union is stronger than ever before” while “the state of the economy is the strongest its ever been”. He also claimed that he was responsible for the lowest-ever US unemployment rates for minorities, women and veterans. He added that the stock markets had reached record highs, as had real median household income and consumer confidence.

Foreign policy

Turning to foreign policy, Trump said: “The days of being scorned by other nations are behind us.”

Trumps surprising guest of the evening was Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself president in January 2019 and has been trying for months to win face time with Trump, his most important international ally.

The president offered Guaidó exactly the sort of endorsement hes been looking for as he struggles to oust President Nicolás Maduro from power. Trump called Guaidó “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela”.

Trump stressed the new trade agreements he has negotiated, including his “Phase One” deal with China and the treaty with Mexico and Canada he signed last month. “Unfair trade is the single biggest reason I decided to run for president,” he said.

As was widely predicted, Trump cited the assassination of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani as one of his great triumphs. “Our message to the terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice. If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life!”

Topic to topic

Some observers noted the whiplash-inducing second half of Trumps address, which jumped from topic to topic without discernible transition. Part of the evenings proceedings involved Trump introducing and recounting anecdotes about various people in the audience whom he had invited.

Trump also announced that the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the countrys highest civilian honours, would go to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who is perhaps best known for coining the term “feminazis” in the early 1990s. Earlier in the day, Limbaugh had announced that he was undergoing treatment for advanced lung canRead More – Source

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