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Nancy Pelosi defends tearing up the State of the Union address: 'I don't need any lessons' on dignity

Updated 2:02 PM ET, Thu February 6, 2020

(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly defended her decision to tear up the State of the Union address as completely appropriate, repeating that she considered the paper copy of President Donald Trump's speech a collection of false statements.

"I tore up a manifesto of mistruths," Pelosi said at her weekly Capitol Hill news conference Thursday. "It was necessary to get the attention of the American people to say, 'This is not true. And this is how it affects you.' And I don't need any lessons from anyone, especially the President of the United States, about dignity."

Pelosi also said Trump's address reflected a "state of mind that had no contact with reality whatsoever."

"We do not want the chamber of the House of Representatives to be used as a backdrop for one of his reality shows," she added, criticizing in particular Trump's comments about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions as well as Trump's decision to award a medal of freedom to divisive radio host Rush Limbaugh during the speech.

Trump and Pelosi had several icy moments during Tuesday night, starting with Trump apparently ignoring an offered handshake from Pelosi and ending with Pelosi immediately tearing up a paper copy of Trump's remarks after he concluded speaking.

Pelosi also addressed Trump's comments at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, in which he criticized Sen. Mitt Romney and Pelosi.

At the event on Thursday morning, which both Trump and Pelosi attended, Trump thanked "courageous Republican politicians and leaders (who) had the wisdom, fortitude and strength to do what everyone knows was right."

He then obliquely referenced Romney and Pelosi.

"I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong, nor do I like people who say, 'I pray for you,' when they know that's not so. So many people have been hurt and we can't let that go on," Trump said.

Pelosi said Trump's remark about Romney, who was the only GOP senator to vote to convict Trump for abuse of power on Wednesday, was "particularly without class."

She also pushed back on the President's suggestion that she does not pray for him: "He can say whatever he wants, but I do pray for him, and I do so sincerely and without anguish."

She added that the President's remarks about politics and the economy were "so inappropriate at a prayer breakfast."

"He's talking about things that he knows little about: faith and prayer," Pelosi said.


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