Vice President Mike Pence told "Fox and Friends" he "wasn't sure if she was ripping up the speech or ripping up the Constitution."
Conservative blowback after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday night ripped apart a copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Unionspeech intensified Wednesday as Vice President Mike Pence called it a "new low" and Trump promoted more than a dozen posts with the hashtag "#PelosiTantrum."
The gesture came at the conclusion of a highly partisan speech from the president — one which was met with raucous cheers from Republicans and groans from Democrats. At one point in Trump's address, he awarded inflammatory conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation's highest civilian honor — one day after Limbaugh announced he had advanced lung cancer.
As Trump reached the lectern, he did not shake Pelosi's outstretched hand before beginning his address. Pelosi pointed to that moment on Twitter after ripping apart her copy of his address.
Speaking with "Fox and Friends" on Wednesday, Pence said he didn't see Pelosi, D-Calif., tear the papers in real time, but said he "wasn't sure if she was ripping up the speech or ripping up the Constitution."
"It's clear the contrast here was a president who spent an hour and a half making the speech about America," he said. "And Nancy Pelosi in the final moments tried to make it about her."
On Twitter, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said she was "Disappointed to see @SpeakerPelosi rip up the speech that mentioned lives we've lost and heroes we celebrated at the SOTU."
"No matter how you feel or what you disagree with, remember others are watching," she said. "This was unbecoming of someone at her level in office."
Trump promoted Haley's tweet along with roughly two dozen others critical of Pelosi's actions, including 19 with the hashtag #PelosiTantrum. Those posts said Pelosi's move "plays into every female stereotype," that she should be "forced to resign," that "uncouth is too polite" to describe the actions, and that the Senate will soon do the same to the two articles of impeachment Trump faces because "karma is a b----."
Trump's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. joined in too, tweeting that his father "will have the last laugh when he gets to shred nasty Nancy's bulls--- articles of impeachment later today."
Pelosi issued a statement soon after Trump's speech explaining why she tore up the papers.
"The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people," Pelosi said.
Trump's address came a day before the Senate vote on the articles of impeachment, which is almost certain to end in an acquittal.
Leaving the House floor on Tuesday, Pelosi said she tore up the speech "because it was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternative."