Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is coming under fire Wednesday evening for giving out commemorative pens that she used to sign the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, smiling and posing for photos on what she earlier claimed had been a “sad” occasion.
However, the use of souvenirs to commemorate impeachment is not entirely new. The Republican-controlled Senate gave out commemorative pens during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.
As the Associated Press recalled last year, the pens had a glaring typo that made them instant collector’s items: “Last time, [Senators] also signed an oath book and kept commemorative pens the Senate produced for the historic moment, though with an unfortunate misspelling: ‘Untied States Senator'” (emphasis added).
Pelosi described the impeachment as “so sad, so tragic for our country” before signing the articles of impeachment with more than a dozen pens, spread among four silver trays.
The entire ceremony was largely a display for the media; the Senate will not formally accept the articles of impeachment until Thursday, when Chief Justice John Roberts, who must preside over impeachments of presidents, will be sworn in.
Some noted that President Donald Trump had also issued commemorative pens after the signing of a “Phase One” trade deal with China on Wednesday. However, the signing of a bill into law, or an international treaty, is typically cause for ceremony and celebration; it is unusual to distribute memorabilia to mark a “sad” occasion.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.