Donald Trump became the third U.S. President in an historic voting to be impeached. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently signed the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump on January 15, 2020. For this, she used 30 personalised pens engraved with her name and presented in silver trays. She also changed the pen with each stroke of her signature and then handed it as souvenirs to the house managers and chairmen present. This angered various Republicans and became a blazing topic of debate for netizens.
INSTANCES OF USING MULTIPLE PENS
The tradition of using multiple pens to sign an important legislation and then giving those pens to the people involved is not new. Rather, as Time Magazine exclaimed, it dates back to at least the 1970s when Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office. According to the Time Magazine “The pen used to sign historic legislation itself becomes a historical artifact. The more pens a President uses, the more thank-you gifts he can offer to those who helped create that piece of history.”
On the same day when Pelosi signed the articles of impeachment with multiple pens, Trump did the same. He signed the trade deal with China in the Oval Office with multiple pens as well.U.S. Senate in 1999 also used multiple pens during the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton and gave them as souvenirs.At the historic signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, The Guardian reported that Lyndon B. Johnson used 75 separate pens.
REACTIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Soon after signing the Articles, claims about the price of the pens flooded the social media from a random account. These claims that the pens were of exuberant price. A Twitter user asserted that the pens costed around $2025 each. While on Facebook, one user claimed the total cost of pens to be $15000, the other exaggerated it further to be $15000 each.
The most re-shared claim read “Pelosi uses $15000 worth of bullet pens to impeach the President. President Trump uses $1.99 Sharpie to sign $2 billion trade deal with China. That’s the difference in a businessman and a worthless professional.”
In reality, Trump does not use a normal Sharpie but a customised one with his signature inscribed on the side.
REACTION OF REPUBLICANS
These claims were brushed aside by the Deputy Chief of Pelosi’s staff, Drew Hammill. He told that the pens Pelosi used cost less than $15 each.
The angered Republicans too took to various platforms to criticize this move. Stephanie Grisham , the Press Secretary of Trump asserted the impeachment to be sham. She wrote “Nancy Pelosi’s souvenir pens served up on a silver platter to sign the sham articles of impeachment.”
Pelosi, according to her “was so somber as she gave them away to the people like prizes.”