Politics

Donald Trump Shuns Nancy Pelosi, Refuses To Shake Her Hand Before State Of The Union

Christian Datoc Senior White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump declined to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) hand, after she offered it, prior to delivering the 2020 State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Trump’s decision to shun Pelosi comes just one day ahead of his expected acquittal in Wednesday’s Senate impeachment trial and would appear to be a final parting shot on a subject multiple White House officials predicted the president would not breach during the address. (RELATED: Meet President Donald Trump’s Special Guests For The 2020 State Of The Union)

DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 30: President Donald Trump waves to the audience while departing from the podium following his remarks at a campaign rally inside of the Knapp Center arena at Drake University on January 30, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. President Trump campaigns in Iowa a few days before nation’s first presidential caucuses and one night before Senate impeachment action. (Photo by Tom Brenner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Brenner/Getty Images)

Former President Bill Clinton, who in 1999 also delivered a State of the Union while awaiting the results of his own impeachment trial, exchanged pleasantries and shook hands with then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican from Illinois just before launching into his speech on the House floor.

Unlike Pelosi, Hastert was not elected speaker until after the House had already opened its impeachment inquiry of Clinton. That position had been occupied by Georgia Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich, who had stepped down from the chair following the November 1998 elections and would ultimately resign from Congress altogether in January of 1999.

Hastert served as Speaker of the House until 2007 and was succeeded by Pelosi following Democrats’ retaking of the majority in the 2006 midterm elections. In 2016, he would eventually plead guilty to crimes involving the coverup of his molestation of several teenage boys back in the 1960s and 1970s for which he served 13 months in prison. He was not charged with sex crimes as the statue of limitations had expired, though he did admit to and apologize for the abuse.