House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was criticized on Wednesday for handing out commemorative pens to celebrate the signing of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, a gesture characterized as “weird” and “jarring” by some commentators.
CNN correspondent Dana Bash said Wednesday that Pelosi had previously “bent over backward” to emphasize the gravity of the impeachment proceedings.
“We’re used to seeing signing ceremonies, handing out pens at moments of celebration, when a president is signing legislation. Even sometimes, on a rare occasion but it has happened, when the House sends over a landmark piece of legislation,” Bash said. “It was unusual to see that kind of ceremony and handing out the pens and smiling for a picture in this kind of situation where the House Speaker has bent over backwards to say publicly and privately, ‘This is somber. This is not a time for a celebration.'”
CNN Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson called the signing “jarring.”
Political commentator Liam Donovan suggested the House Speaker’s actions were “weird.”
IOW, if none of this matters–if optics are irrelevant because Trump and Rs are so beyond the pale nobody is going to hold it against Ds, then why go to such great pains up until this point?
— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) January 16, 2020
Pelosi used a few dozen pens to sign, at a desk bearing a placard reading #DefendOurDemocracy. Afterward, she handed pens to the impeachment managers and committee chairs involved in the investigation.
“It makes a funny signature,” she said.
Reflecting the deep partisan divide, the House vote to impeach Trump was nearly along party lines. Many of his fellow Republicans in the Senate have made clear they view the impeachment as a political stunt by Democrats as Trump seeks re-election in the November election.
In December, Pelosi instructed members of her party to refrain from cheering following an impeachment vote against Trump and asked them to maintain a “somber” tone.