Trump Refused to Shake Nancy Pelosi’s Hand and Other Petty Moments From the State of the Union

Illustration for article titled Trump Refused to Shake Nancy Pelosi’s Hand and Other Petty Moments From the State of the Union
Photo: Mandel Ngan (Getty Images)

The State of the Union under the Trump administration has become a congressional version of the mythical Hater’s Ball. Everyone goes but everyone hates everybody. It’s basically a sorority step show without the stepping. There is more shade being thrown here than all of the Housewives series combined.

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Even the guests, invited by members of Congress, are political passive-aggressive avatars who serve to humanize some bigger political point. Big mad that Trump will keep trying to strip away pre-existing conditions from Obamacare? Then you bring in a guest who has suffered from Trump’s indecision.

The State of the Union is political theater on steroids and Tuesday night’s SOTU didn’t disappoint.

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Peak Pettiness Award 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi must’ve had a magical negro in her life. I’ve not researched her Baltimore upbringing but I assure you that at some point in Pelosi’s life the California congresswoman got her hair done at a black salon, went to a black church and jumped Double Dutch with black children. Somewhere along the line, some black woman let her in on the secrets of black shade because you don’t just learn the walrus clap (the infamous hands she gave President Trump during his 2019 SOTU speech) from watching YouTube tutorials.

So it goes without saying that the Peak Pettiness Award goes to Petty Pelosi, who tried to hold it together when it started but then went full petty once it was clear that the president wasn’t going to make nice. Pelosi may not have won this award had the president shook her hand when she extended hers, but when she realized that the game they were playing was akin to her familiar upbringing, she tapped back into the teaching of Ms. Jenkins, the mythical salon owner with the snapping gum and an updo of Tyler Perry’s dreams, and said: “Bring it, bitch!”

The funny thing is, and what probably went past most people watching at home, was that it wasn’t Trump’s handshake snub that started it; Pelosi actually threw the first punch. It’s customary that the Speaker of the House says during the president’s introduction, “It’s with high privilege and distinct honor” to introduce the president. But Pelosi was on some “Y’all know this bama, so I give you this bitch.” Trump then handed copies of his speech to Vice President Mike Pence and Pelosi and that’s when he snubbed her on the handshake. Could Trump have noticed that Pelosi left out a portion of the speech? “Fuck no!” Trump doesn’t even know the letter that comes after C in the alphabet. He always planned on bypassing the handshake with Pelosi because he’s a messy bitch.

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So shoutout to Pelosi for the preemptive subtle shade to start the proceedings.

We can’t forget the ripping of Trump’s speech at the end of the SOTU. Yes, girl (I’m channeling the mythical Ms. Jenkins here) she ripped that bitch to filth. Stunt, queen!

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Also, Twitter has taken to calling her #NancyTheRipper and it’s trending because we love petty. We miss you, Ms. Jenkins, wherever you are.

Trump Is Going to Trump

There is a difference between throwing shade and being a bitch, and Trump is a bitch. Doesn’t matter if he’s winning or losing, he’s consistently a bitch. Not to mention, he’s got his boo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, hyping him like “You just going to let them impeach you and you ain’t going to do shit? Mother Russia would never!” So Trump doesn’t even know what being petty or throwing shade is; he’s just being himself. A bitch.

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So he didn’t shake Pelosi’s hand, which is super bitchy. Then he used the State of the Union speech, not to talk about the State of the Union, but to begin an early campaign for reelection. But what might have been the most unconsciously petty move by the entire Trump administration was his dazzling display of black hero worship in which he honored black Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina for helping him catch slaves who fled the plantation his work on opportunity job zones as part of the Republican tax cuts. Trump then shouted out former Army veteran Tony Rankins, who struggled with drug addiction only to clean himself up and start a construction company in an opportunity zone (read: government-sanctioned gentrification). Then Trump moved on to Iain Lanphier, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Arizona, and his great-grandfather Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen and the first black fighter pilot. Trump then segued into a push for the controversial school choice program and ushered out Janiyah Davis, a fourth-grader from Philadelphia, and her mom, Stephanie, who is a single parent.

And then he told Janiyah that her wait for a school of her choice was over and that she’d be getting a scholarship to attend any school she wanted.

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And then, as if Trump didn’t understand the juxtaposition of holding and polishing all of his black trophies in front of America with his lame attempt to court the black vote (no, seriously, he doesn’t know that he’s doing that. He also didn’t know that it was Tuesday or how to lace his own shoes when his foot is firmly up Sen. Mitch McConnell’s ass,) the very next person he spoke highly of was conservative political commentator, aka racist AF, Rush Limbaugh.

And then awarded this shitheel the Presidential Medal of Freedom!

This Rush Limbaugh:

The Rush Limbaugh who once claimed, “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?

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And the Rush Limbaugh who noted: “Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”

You can read a full list of all the racist shit Limbaugh has spouted prior to being diagnosed with cancer here.

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Well played, Trump. Even if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

Petty Players

This goes out to some of my favorite Democrats who didn’t even show up for this bullshit because the Milwaukee Bucks were playing the New Orleans Pelicans at the same time as the SOTU. This includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, Al Green, Bennie Thompson, Bobby Rush, Steve Cohen, Earl Blumenauer, Hank Johnson, and Frederica Wilson.

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Ocasio-Cortez said that she made her decision because she felt attending would normalize and legitimize “Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution”; she also emphasized that the choice was “deeply personal” for every member of Congress.

And Auntie Maxine tweeted:

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Shoutout to the four Democrats—Tim Ryan (Ohio), Bill Pascrell (N.J.), Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, and “Squad” member Rashid Tlaib (Michigan)—who couldn’t take any more of Trump’s bullshit and walked out. Tlaib went to Twitter shortly after leaving and noted that she had to get the hell out of there.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

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DISCUSSION

Ya’ll can have all this posturing and time wasting. All the Tweets and showboating don’t mean shit. Until these muvafuckas are under the prison I won’t hold my breath on change.