The Limits Of Graciousness: The President Rejects Nancy Pelosi’s Hand

The President in 2018 wearing a different tie.  Pelosi’s hand is the same

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. ]

37 thoughts on “The Limits Of Graciousness: The President Rejects Nancy Pelosi’s Hand

  1. His speech was especially good. The moment the President reunited the soldier with his family was wonderful. Our son (also with a wife and a beautiful 19-month-old daughter) serves as a Major in the Army, so it was especially moving. My wife cried.

    • I didn’t see the snub at the beginning, but I did see her temper tantrum at the end. For most of the speech, I couldn’t help but think that Pence knew how to act on camera, while Pelosi fumbled with papers, and made funny faces.

      When I heard paper rip at the end she was out of frame, I thought I miss heard, then thought she had some sort spasm and briefly feared for her health. It was incomprehensible that she would be so petty and feckless to do it intentionally.

      I once helped in a third grade classroom where students were allowed to gleefully rip up old assignments before placing them in the recycling bin. Democrats expressed HORROR when rumors circulated that Trump simarly ripped up old briefings, rather than save them for his future presidential library.

      I was thus not impressed when Pelosi carefully waited until she was in frame again on CBS’s feed and tore up two more pages.

  2. I noticed that when the President was talking about drug approvals, the white-clad dems started heckling and making hand gestures. Can anyone tell me what that was about?
    But it was a masterly speech, carpet-bombing many of the dems policy positions, and forcing them to alternately defend the indefensible and criticise motherhood (literally) and apple pie (metaphorically).

  3. While hearing what President Trump had to say last night was of some interest, the real entertainment, at least for my wife and I, was watching Pelosi. Her reactions had us wondering a) if she knew where she was and why all those people were there, b) what her BAC level was, and c) what else could be causing her to have so much trouble getting her two hands close enough together to actually clap now and then.

    I fully agree with the president bypassing Nancy’s handshake. I’ve always considered the gesture a show of mutual respect between two individuals, even if they don’t know each other, and have on a few occasions skipped passed people I had no wish to fake even that level of respect for.

  4. Wasn’t it Pelosi who suggested, during the shutdown, that the President wouldn’t be safe showing up in person to deliver the SoTU? And isn’t that when all her friends in the news media began writing articles about how unnecessary it really was for the President to give the address in person and how it didn’t become a thing until Woodrow Wilson?

  5. Not shaking Pelosi’s hand was a mistake. To many in middle America it is a sign of weakness and disrespect to not shake hands even if you know the person means you ill.

    The rule is to be the bigger person and behave as such. It would have been a sign of strength to do so for all to see despite what Pelosi is and stands for.

    • I think this is right. It is a symbol of, essentially, non-hatred.

      Placing hatred on display for the nation in a formal occasion is a very bad look, no matter how well-deserved.

      Pelosi’s actions, presumably in response, were even worse. So I guess we have reached the point of a mutual loathing so deep and profound even the forms of civility are unpalatable, never mind the substance.

      There can be only one end to this. Breaking up may be hard to do, but sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps us from killing each other.

      • It is/was a hope civility, even in severe disagreement, would strengthen the wide majority Trump is likely to win by in November to landslide proportions and convince the resistance violence is so ill advised they shouldn’t even consider attempting it against such an overwhelming majority of citizens. Not that the lack of a handshake makes a significant difference, but it would have been a signal of strength to those few in the middle that Trump represents a bigger and better type of America than the resistance offers, even for those who hate him and his policies.

    • Not shaking Pelosi’s hand was a mistake.

      I respectfully disagree, Jim.

      Pelosi hates Trump on a deep visceral level. He acted accordingly.

      Jack nailed how most of fly over country (who are paying attention, as more and more are) will feel about this. Pelosi has become a clear and present danger to the President and his family, all but begging someone to assassinate him. Her party openly boasts that they want to confiscate his wealth, destroy his businesses, imprison him without due process, and execute him.*

      The attacks have been personal for almost 4 years, and Pelosi wants to still play the smarmy DC Swamp game by shaking hands. Progressives can do whatever and act however they want, and expect the right to shut up, take it, and lose… graciously.

      The hard core progressives laugh when they force the right to be civil when they have never been. No more. Progressives have made this bed, and now can lay on the nails.

      *They want to do the same to every opponent, left or right, as well. This means YOU, my reader.

      Progressives hate you: act accordingly.

      • Disagree. Kill them with politeness, if not kindness, and crush them at the ballot box with the correct policies. Shaking her hand shows you have the upper hand and know it.

        • I see your point. I am just a bit jaded with how the high road has led to the GOPe and the swamp killing conservative political voices over the past 4 decades.

          Your way has not worked in my lifetime. Does not mean you are wrong. It does mean that progressives get away with this sort of thing all the time, with no consequences

          • Not a make nice gesture. A clear sign of no fear and being a truly bigger person.

            Don’t get me wrong, I want Pelosi absolutely politically crushed into irrelevance. I think the handshake would have helped that process, not hurt it.

    • Pelosi is too old, too frail, too weak-minded, and too female to bone crush Trump’s hand.

      If Trump had done it, Pelosi would have hammed it up for the cameras, and the headlines would have screamed about how Trump bullied a woman.

  6. Of course, Nancy started it by her classless introduction. I agree though. Trump should have shaken her hand, although I would not have been surprised if she pulled it back just as he reached for it. [Think Lucy, Charlie Brown, and a football.]

    • She didn’t even give him the traditional greeting. (Which I should have mentioned, but in my view, that was not material at that point. Read what he had been called by her, and by Schiff and Nadler, in an official proceeding, not behind closed doors. There are times where snubs are mandatory. This was one.

  7. “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…”

    Not just the President, but the rest of us as well. The President, at least, has Secret Service agents, but when Congressional members (Waters, et al) tell their minions to confront and attack those who disagree with them, there’s nothing to do but walk away if you can, defend yourself if you can’t; either way, you lose something as an American.

    For the average American holding traditional values, the country has become a frightening and dangerous place. Feeling they have the backing of elected officials and knowing they will be defended, liberal agitators attack and will eventually kill conservative dissenters, perhaps for wearing the wrong hat, having the wrong haircut, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong. Unlike liberals, conservatives don’t have to lie about such things.

    In a country where Democratic candidates are openly advocating absolute governmental control of every facet of life (e.g., Warren and Bloomberg) or dictatorship and open revolt (Steyer), it’s not easy to be in any way optimistic about the future. Darkness is descending, and, as dark as it seems now, it feels as if we have thus far only experienced the twilight before the Long Night.

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