Here are five of the most stressful moments of the night.
1. After entering the House chamber, Trump began handing out copies of his speech to Vice President Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who spearheaded charges of impeachment against the president. Trump appeared to snub Pelosi as he ignored her outreached hand — an attempt at a handshake — and turned his attention back to the House floor. Pelosi visibly pursed her lips at the awkward exchange. She then went on to execute a snub of her own, when she broke from protocol and introduced Trump to the chamber with an amended introduction.
“Members of Congress, the President of the United States,” Pelosi said.
The standard introduction for a State of the Union is: “Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the President of the United States.”
2. The night was filled with dozens of standing ovations and cheers from Republican supporters of Trump. But there were a few moments of audible groans or refusals to clap from Democrats as well. For example, as Trump touted his administration’s economy and job growth and slammed the “failed” economic policies of the Obama administration, Democrats throughout the gallery jeered and shook their heads.
3. In an emotional tribute to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who just hours earlier announced he is battling stage 4 lung cancer, Trump decided to award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in America. Although many Republicans cheered and shouted “We love you, Rush,” as first lady Melania Trump bestowed the award, Democrats were audible in the gallery murmuring “No” to the award. Limbaugh, 69, has hosted “The Rush Limbaugh Show” since 1988 and drawn criticism from the left over rhetoric they deem offensive and racist.
4. As Trump reiterated his commitment to protecting Second Amendment rights, the father of a victim killed in the Parkland school shooting, shouted out, “What about victims of gun violence like my daughter?” Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jamie, died in the 2018 shooting, was removed from the gallery for his outburst. Guttenberg later apologized on Twitter, saying he “let my emotions get the best of me.”
“I simply want to be able to deal with the reality of gun violence and not have to listen to the lies about the 2A as happened tonight,” he wrote.
5. In one final gesture of division between Democrats and Republicans, Pelosi stood at the end of Trump’s address and tore up the transcript of his speech. Speaking to reporters after she left the gallery, Pelosi said: “He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech.”