Sen. Ron Wyden Leaves as Pelosi Rips Trump’s Speech

Oregon's senior senator on camera as House speaker tears up State of the Union address

Screenshot from CSPAN coverage of State of the Union

Maybe Sen. Ron Wyden was just trying to beat traffic?

As President Donald Trump uttered the final words of his 2020 State of the Union speech, “God Bless America,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up his speech transcript.

While this scene unraveled, Oregon’s Wyden was caught on camera leaving early, looking back as Pelosi made her now-trending tear. Wyden is now immortalized in many GIFs and videos of this State of the Union moment — which has even been shared by the Trump re-election campaign in an email fundraiser ad.

Multiple Democrats walked out of — and boycotted — the president’s State of the Union speech. Rep. Peter DeFazio didn’t even show up, telling Eugene Weekly, “I have no intention” of attending a Trump event. EW reached out to Wyden’s team to see if he was joining the protesting Democrats, but the senator was just leaving early.

Wyden is a frequent critic of the Trump administration. Three days ago on the Senate floor, Wyden said Trump had violated his oath and betrayed the U.S. democratic process by pursuing his personal and political ambitions when he withheld foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump’s State of the Union had the ingredients of a reality show, which included reuniting a homecoming military husband with his family along with “USA” chants. Trump also awarded conspirarcy theorist and media personality Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, joining the likes of other media figures like Lucille Ball, Fred Rogers and Oprah.

Pelosi ripping up the president’s State of the Union speech is just another moment in their fraught relationship. Before the speech, Trump snubbed Pelosi’s hand for a handshake. Of course, as House speaker, Pelosi led the Trump impeachment process.

Pelosi also OK’d some of Trump’s signature legislation — like the new NAFTA legislation and his expanded military budget. She has voted along with Trump’s position 18 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, a news website that loves its statistics.