GOP Rep. Palmer: ‘I Don’t Think We’ve Seen the Country Like This Since Maybe 1859, 1860’

During an interview with Huntsville, AL radio’s WVNN on Monday, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL), the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, offered a grim assessment of the state of politics in America on the heels of last week’s State of the Union address delivered by President Donald Trump.

Palmer praised Trump for the speech but criticized House Democrats under the direction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reminding listeners she tore a printed copy of the speech in half.

“I thought it was a great speech,” Palmer said. “I was really disappointed in the response of the Democrats. I thought it was shameful – their reaction to Rush Limbaugh, to the widow of the soldier who was killed by the roadside bomb that was provided by Soleimani. They didn’t stand for the little girl who was going to get a scholarship. It was lukewarm toward Gen. McGhee, the 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman. Then worst of all, Pelosi ripped the speech up at the end. She actually started ripping it before the president finished. She finished the job after it was over.”

The Alabama Republican said he felt this was the most divided the country has been since the eve of the Civil War.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the country like this since maybe 1859, 1860 – and I’m serious about that,” he continued. “We’ve gone from partisan politics to just pure contempt. And that’s very dangerous. I’m very concerned about where all this is going to wind up, especially considering I’m one of the guys shot at on the baseball field, sitting next to one of the guys who was hit.”

Palmer doubted Democrats would be rewarded for Pelosi’s behavior and explained the historical significance of the formal printed copy of the speech presented to the House Speaker.

“I don’t think they get a benefit from it,” he said. “I think this was shameful. I’ve been in discussions about the fact she ripped up an official document. John Adams and George Washington ripped up their State of the Union addresses orally, which the Constitution requires the president to deliver a State of the Union message to the House and Senate. From 1801 until Woodrow Wilson was president, those messages were delivered in writing. Woodrow Wilson was the first modern president to decide to deliver the speech both in writing and orally.”

“Hoover decided not to do an oral speech, and it was picked back up by President Roosevelt,” Palmer continued. “I guarantee you if you go to the archives, you will find signed copies of the State of the Union signed by various presidents going back all the way to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That was a historic document that belongs to the American people and should be reserved for our posterity, despite the fact she committed the act in front of 30-something million people.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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