Donald Trump, who prizes loyalty, usually gets to carefully choose the people placed closest to him for his speeches. For the State of the Union, he doesn’t have a say in who shares the stage. The backdrop provides for two very visible roles, filled by the vice president and the speaker of the House.
There is often a split partisan in full view behind the president, yet rarely one in which the players engaged in so much acrimony just weeks earlier.
It made for an awkward dynamic last night (Feb. 5). For speaker Nancy Pelosi, this was a return engagement, the first time since 2010 that she or any other Democrat held the gavel for the State of the Union. (She first ascended to the speakership in 2007, while George W. Bush was president.)
Here are some images from the president’s address that reveal the new-found level of confidence Pelosi has appeared to reclaim for the opposition party that will control much of what Trump can get done in the second half of the term he won in 2016.