Though she offed it, President Donald Trump declined to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand prior to delivering the 2020 State of the Union address tonight. (I’m watching the State of the Union Address as I write this.)
Perhaps those who are frequent readers here expect me to chide the President. He should remember that political disagreements aren’t personal, after all. As America’s leader, he should model the ethical virtues of forgiveness, civility, grace, and the Golden Rule. Our elected officials should always stand for the principle that though we may disagree as a people, we should never be disagreeable. In this case, such symbolic comity is especially essential. The nation has seldom been more divided, or more contentious in its division. Shaking the Speaker’s hand would be a step, albeit a small one, toward healing the rift.
Although this would be my ethics prescription under normal circumstances, this is not such a circumstance, and everyone knows it, or should. Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the partisan opposition of the Democrats to this President has breached all political norms and ethical traditions. The attacks on him, and not only him, but his family as well, have been directly personal, with Pelosi and her lieutenants using savage and unconscionable rhetoric to embarrass and insult him and, if possible, disable the President’s influence and lawful power. During the reprehensible impeachment burlesque, still ongoing, the President has been denigrated as no Chief Executive before him, and as no leader of the United States should ever be denigrated by members of Congress, or any citizen.
Personal destruction has been at the core of the Democratic Party’s various plots to remove President Trump without having to do the hard work—apparently especially hard for today’s Democrats–of finding a qualified and trustworthy opponent who can defeat him. Pelosi has been a general in this war against him, the Presidency, the institutions of elections, and the Constitution. Her hand was a lie: we have already heard from some of her minions, and hints from her, that the soft coup efforts will continue. The origin of the handshake, anthropologists believe, was for strangers to show they were not armed, and intended no harm.
Pelosi does mean harm, to Trump, and to any institutions that stand in the way of her party’s quest to achieve power and control by any means necessary. It would have been as insincere and misleading for the President to shake her hand as it was for her to offer it. The Democrats declared war on Donald Trump, as did so unilaterally and without justification. They are still at war, and they are unforgiving, relentless, and ruthless.
Speaker Pelosi offering her hand was a cynical and dishonest facade. The President rejected it.
[ As for the State of the Union: The best delivered speech the President has ever given, by far. ]