Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Wednesday handed out commemorative pens to her impeachment managers while posing for pictures with them—a departure from proceedings she has said should be serious and somber.
CNN correspondent Dana Bash and reporter Nia-Malika Henderson were both perplexed by the optics of Pelosi's impeachment signing, saying it was "off-message" and "unusual."
"We're used to seeing signing ceremonies, handing out pens at moments of celebration, when a president is signing legislation. Even sometimes, on a rare occasion but it has happened, when the House sends over a landmark piece of legislation," Bash said. "It was unusual to see that kind of ceremony and handing out the pens and smiling for a picture in this kind of situation where the House Speaker has bent over backwards to say publicly and privately, ‘This is somber. This is not a time for a celebration.'"
Henderson called the signing "jarring" and said it "was a little off-message for someone who has tried to set a very serious tone."
Pelosi has repeatedly told House Democrats that the impeachment process is not a celebratory moment, calling it "somber" and a "very sad time for our country." Prior to the House impeachment vote last month, she told the Democratic caucus not to cheer at the final vote coming down.
Pelosi handed out eight pens to House Democrats last year after signing a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for three weeks.