A congressman from North Florida known as a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump has filed a formal complaint over the viral moment House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped her copy of his State of the Union speech.
NBC affiliate WFLA-TV reports that Rep. Matt Gaetz filed the ethics complaint, writing on Twitter late Wednesday night that “nobody is above the law” – a jab at House Democrats who used a similar phrase during the impeachment trial against Trump.
“Her conduct was beneath the dignity of the House, and a potential violation of law,” Gaetz said, though legal experts contradict the claim of any illegality. “She must be held accountable.”
Gaetz said the action was “deeply offensive” and does not reflect the “credibility” of the House of Representatives.
“The speaker should not let her personal feelings about the president color her behavior as a leader in the United States Congress,” he said.
The complaint now goes to the House Committee on Ethics, a group chaired by Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch – whose district includes part of Broward County.
The complaint is highly unlikely to advance in the Democratically-controlled House. And legal experts contacted by the fact-checking website Politifact dismissed an earlier claim that Pelosi violated a law against destroying official records by tearing up a copy of Trump’s speech.
“Her copy of the State of the Union address is not a government record or government property at all,” Douglas Cox, professor of law at the City of New York University School of Law, told Politifact. “It is personal property.”
On Thursday, Pelosi defended her shredding of the speech, telling reporters “I tore up a manifesto of mistruths."
“It was necessary to get the attention of the American people to say, ‘This is not true, and this is how it affects you,’” she said. “And I don’t need any lessons from anybody — especially the president of the United States — about dignity.”