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Trump tweeted a video of Pelosi ripping his State of the Union speech. Here’s what you need to know
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tears her copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address after he delivered it to Congress on Feb. 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Semansky) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tears her copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address after he delivered it to Congress on Feb. 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Semansky)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tears her copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address after he delivered it to Congress on Feb. 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Semansky)

Daniel Funke
By Daniel Funke February 11, 2020

If Your Time is short

  • The video shows footage of Trump honoring State of the Union guests followed by a clip of Pelosi ripping up the president’s address.

  • The video was selectively edited, but none of it was fabricated.

  • Several Democratic lawmakers called for Twitter and Facebook to remove the video. Neither has complied.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to rip up her copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address is the focus of a selectively edited video promoted by the White House.

President Donald Trump tweeted the video on Feb. 6. It shows clips from Trump’s Feb. 4 speech in which he honored guests like the Tuskegee Airmen, military families and a young woman receiving a scholarship.

After each clip, the video shows Pelosi ripping up the president’s address. But that’s not what happened. She waited until the end of the president’s address to do so. During the speech, Pelosi stood and clapped after Trump introduced each guest.

The video shared by the White House emphasizes its message from the beginning: by tearing up the whole speech, Pelosi tore up the bipartisan moments about his guests, too. 

"It would be soooooo terrible if this video hits 10,000,000 views, as Nancy doesn’t want Americans to see how disgraceful she really is!" wrote White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino in another tweet Feb. 9.

The five-minute video has been viewed nearly 12 million times on Twitter. Conservative figures like Sean Hannity shared it on Facebook to their network of fans. 

The video bears the logo of Freedom Fights, a Facebook page that first published the video Feb. 5. The page is run by Turning Point USA, a conservative organization that we have fact-checked many times.

After Trump posted it, Democrats in Congress, including Pelosi, started calling on social media platforms to take it down.

"The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests," tweeted Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff.

RELATED: Fact-checking Donald Trump's 2020 State of the Union address

So far, Twitter and Facebook have not taken down the video. Neither company’s content policies provide for the removal of videos that are deceptively edited, unless they are fabricated, significantly doctored or mislead users about specific topics, such as voting or medical treatments.

"Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn't make those remarks and the Speaker didn't rip the speech?" Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted in response to Hammill. 

In a follow-up tweet, Stone linked to a blog post about Facebook’s manipulated media policy, saying "the things featured in this video actually happened."

Twitter recently announced a new policy for "synthetic and manipulated media" that says users are not allowed to "deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm." 

While it was edited to make it look like Pelosi disrespected State of the Union guests, none of the footage was fabricated. It uses what the Washington Post Fact Checker calls "omission," defined as "editing out large portions from a video and presenting it as a complete narrative, despite missing key elements." That’s more similar to the format of political attack ads than "deepfake videos," which use artificial intelligence to make it look like someone is doing or saying something that never occurred.

RELATED: Donald Trump says Nancy Pelosi’s speech tear was illegal. That’s wrong

However, clips of Pelosi ripping Trump’s speech have been taken out of context to promote more misleading claims about the speaker.

One conservative journalist tweeted a clip that purportedly showed Pelosi pre-ripping pages of Trump’s speech. He claimed that it proved the speaker was "planning to do it from the start," which we rated False. A Facebook post published the same day claimed to show Pelosi ripping Trump’s speech while a military family watched. We also rated that False.

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Our Sources

C-SPAN, 2020 State of the Union Address, Feb. 4, 2020 

Facebook, Community Standards: Manipulated Media, accessed Feb. 11, 2020

Facebook, "Enforcing Against Manipulated Media," Jan. 6, 2020

Facebook post, Feb. 5, 2020

Facebook post from Sean Hannity, Feb. 10, 2020

Facebook post from Freedom Fights, Feb. 5, 2020

The Hill, "Democrats call for Twitter, Facebook to take down Pelosi video posted by Trump," Feb. 7, 2020

PolitiFact, "No evidence Pelosi planned to tear Trump’s State of the Union speech at start," Feb. 6, 2020

PolitiFact, Turning Point USA, accessed Feb. 11, 2020

PolitiFact, "10 most aired political ads, fact-checked," Nov. 3, 2016

Poynter, "The future of the deepfake — and what it means for fact-checkers," Dec. 17, 2018

Tweet, Feb. 5, 2020

Tweet from Andy Stone, Feb. 7, 2020

Tweet from Andy Stone, Feb. 7, 2020

Tweet from Dan Scavino, Feb. 9, 2020

Tweet from David Cicilline, Feb. 7, 2020

Tweet from Donald Trump, Feb. 6, 2020

Tweet from Drew Hammill, Feb. 7, 2020

Tweet from Veronica Escobar, Feb. 7, 2020

Twitter, "Building rules in public: Our approach to synthetic & manipulated media," Feb. 4, 2020

Twitter, Synthetic and manipulated media policy, accessed Feb. 11, 2020

The Washington Post, "The Fact Checker’s guide to manipulated video," accessed Feb. 11, 2020

The White House, Remarks by President Trump in State of the Union Address, Feb. 4, 2020

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Trump tweeted a video of Pelosi ripping his State of the Union speech. Here’s what you need to know