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Gaetz seeks investigation into Pelosi’s gesture: ‘She must be held accountable’

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (2019 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi struck a nerve when she tore up a printed copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech immediately following his address Tuesday evening.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, announced during an appearance Wednesday night on Fox News that he was filing an ethics complaint against Pelosi. Gaetz, an ardent supporter of the president, followed up his on-air remarks with a tweet criticizing the display and calling for congressional investigations.

“I’m filing an ethics complaint against @SpeakerPelosi for destroying @realDonaldTrump’s State of the Union speech. Her conduct was beneath the dignity of the House, and a potential violation of law,” Gaetz tweeted. “Nobody is above the law. She must be held accountable.”

The president had just wrapped up his speech when Pelosi, standing behind him on the dais, ripped her copy of the remarks in half. If she had any second thoughts about her decision, she didn’t let it show as she spoke with reporters on her way out of the Capitol.

“It was a manifesto of mistruths,” Pelosi said.

In a letter Wednesday to the House Committee on Ethics, Gaetz asked for an investigation into what he described as a “flagrant violation of decorum." Further, he requested the panel look into whether Pelosi’s actions constituted a crime, saying at the very least they were grounds for censure.

“It is hard to overlook the symbolism of such a gesture – the sense that Speaker Pelosi was utterly dismissive of the President’s achievements, and, more importantly, the achievements of the American people,” Gaetz wrote. “Speaker Pelosi’s gesture was deeply offense (sic), and appears to violate clauses 1 and 2 of House Rule XXII (“Code of Official Conduct”).”

As for whether Pelosi’s gesture would be considered criminal, PolitiFact debunked that claim, according to the Tampa Bay Times. As the Times reported, Heidi Kitrosser, law professor at the University of Minnesota, said it would be “absurd” to suggest Pelosi should be prosecuted for shredding the printout.


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