House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took criticism for handing out souvenir impeachment signing pens — but similar pens, with a slight error in spelling, made an appearance two decades earlier.
Former Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, on hand Wednesday for MSNBC’s coverage of the transmission of the articles of impeachment, said that the commemorative pens handed out during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment contained a spelling error. The word “united” was incorrectly printed “untied.”
Feingold, who was in Congress during the Clinton impeachment in 1998, explained the point of all the rituals surrounding the day’s events. “It creates a solemnity that I can tell you matters and with the Clinton impeachment I think many of us felt that this was by comparison to other situations to be sort of a trivial series of accusations, not offenses against the United States and yet it was taken seriously.”
“All of these trappings aren’t just ancient traditions. They matter and they remind people that they have taken this oath so I think it’s a package that does matter and the only — there can be funny moments,” Feingold added. “For example, the pens that they gave us as commemorative pens were actually misprinted. The word ‘united’ was misspelled and they had to do it over.” (RELATED: ‘The Senate Is On Trial’: Nadler Says The Impeachment Is No Longer Just About The President)
While there have been no reports of spelling errors on the pens Speaker Pelosi handed out to her impeachment managers, Pelosi was criticized by some who felt the optics suggested a celebration rather than a solemn occasion.
CNN panel bashes Nancy Pelosi for handing out impeachment pens. It was a “jarring” “celebration” pic.twitter.com/oQlI8tgIW0
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 15, 2020
For months Nancy Pelosi said impeachment was serious, sad, and somber.
After signing the articles of impeachment Pelosi laughed about the number of pens she used to sign the articles. pic.twitter.com/yganN96i9u
— Francis Brennan (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@FrancisBrennan) January 15, 2020
Pelosi sharing pens to sign the articles of impeachment and smiling and posing for pictures seemed a little off for the moment.
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) January 15, 2020