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Tuesday July 7th, 2020 11:18PM

The Latest: Awkward moment between Trump, Pelosi at speech

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on the president's State of the Union speech (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

Did President Donald Trump decline to shake Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hand?

At the start of the State of the Union address Tuesday it appeared that Pelosi extended her hand to Trump, a gesture amid the divisive impeachment proceedings.

The president was presenting folios to Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence as he arrived for the evening speech when it appears she reached for the shake. At the same time, Trump turned away from her to face the audience of lawmakers gathered for the annual address.

Pelosi gave a look.

The speaker led House Democrats in impeaching Trump last month on charges he abused power and obstructed Congress in the Ukraine matter. The Senate is poised to acquit him Wednesday of the two articles of impeachment.

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9:15 p.m.

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is an honored guest of President Donald Trump's for his State of the Union address.

Limbaugh was seated next to first lady Melania Trump in the congressional gallery for Tuesday's speech. He has been a steadfast supporter of President Trump and his policies over the years.

Limbaugh announced on his nationally televised radio program on Monday that he is battling advanced lung cancer.

According to multiple news reports, Trump informed news anchors earlier Tuesday that he will bestow Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the coming months. That is the highest civilian honor in the nation.

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9:05 p.m.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó is attending President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night on Capitol Hill.

The invitation comes as Guaidó has been trying to win face time with Trump, his most important international ally. Guaidó's visit to Miami on Saturday rounded out a two-week world tour that took him first to Colombia, then across Europe and Canada, where he held meetings seeking more international help to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from office.

Venezuela has been a top priority in Latin America for the Trump administration, which a year ago was the first among 60 governments to throw its weight behind Guaidó.

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8:35 p.m.

The House is lit for television ahead of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, and members of Congress are showing off their priorities.

Many Democratic women are wearing white Tuesday to align themselves with suffragettes a century after women won the right to vote. Some also are wearing green Equal Rights Amendment pins ahead of an expected House vote on the issue this month. Look, too, for red-white-and-blue-striped lapel pins to highlight climate change.

Many Republicans got to the chamber early to snag aisle seats. The coveted positions allow them to shake hands on camera with the president as he makes his way down the aisle. This year, Trump is speaking on the eve of his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial on charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress when dealing with Ukraine.

The acquittal vote will resolve impeachment in Congress, but voters will have the final say this election year. Every member of the House, a third of the Senate and Trump himself are up for reelection.

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8:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump will tell the American people that the country has achieved a “Great American Comeback” in his State of the Union address.

That's according to early excerpts released by the White House on Tuesday, shortly before the president was scheduled to travel across Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol for the address.

The speech comes after the president became the third in the nation's history to be impeached and as his trial is still underway. But he will make the case that, despite the division, the country is better off now than four years ago and that he has kept his election promises as he makes his pitch to voters in an election year.

Trump says he will lay out a vision “where every citizen can join in America’s unparalleled success" and touch on issues including the economy, education, health care, trade and national defense.

He plans to say, “We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”

___

7:55 p.m.

Two prominent House Democratic freshmen are boycotting President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech over his conduct.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, who are both front and center as members of "the Squad,” said hours before the address Tuesday that they're skipping it.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she would “not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution.”

Pressley, meanwhile, said she's boycotting because Trump “consistently demonstrates contempt for the American people, contempt for Congress & contempt for our constitution.”

Other “Squad" members — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — were expected to attend the joint session of Congress.

The four freshmen are all congresswomen of color, and they voted to impeach Trump. They have been labeled “The Squad” in part for their criticism of Trump, and the president frequently rails against them.

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