House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) increasingly lost her patience during a tense interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday as he grilled her on stalled COVID-19 relief talks, following President Trump’s abrupt move to call off negotiations last week.
In “Dear Colleague” letters released over the weekend, the House speaker expressed her dissatisfaction over the Trump administration’s latest $1.8 trillion proposal for a COVID-19 relief package, and continued pushing provisions from Democrats’ $2.2 trillion bill the House passed earlier this month.
On Tuesday morning, Pelosi maintained her criticism in another “Dear Colleague” letter as she dismissed the Trump administration’s latest COVID-19 relief proposal, following Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s return to the negotiating table, as “one step forward, two steps back” that could possibly “make matters worse.”
Later Tuesday, a tense exchange ensued when Blitzer pressed Pelosi for not taking up the White House’s latest COVID-19 relief proposal amid Americans experiencing unemployment as the country tops over 215,000 fatalities from the infectious disease.
“Many Americans are waiting in food lines for the first time in their lives,” Blitzer told Pelosi. “Can you look them in the eye, Madam Speaker, and explain why you don’t want to accept the president’s latest stimulus offer?”
Pelosi told Blitzer that he should ask Republicans on “why they don’t really want to meet the needs of the American people” while arguing that the party should accept Democrats’ proposals to address the coronavirus crisis.
Blitzer cut in, reiterating to Pelosi that Americans “really need the money right now” before pointing to Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-CA) tweet demanding that the House speaker accept the Trump administration’s $1.8 trillion proposal.
Pelosi hit back by accusing Blitzer of being an “apologist” for Republicans.
“What I say to you is I don’t know if you’re always an apologist — and many of your colleagues — for the Republican position,” Pelosi told Blitzer. “Ro Khanna, that’s nice. That isn’t what we’re going to do.”
Pelosi agreed that “people need help now” but argued that “it’s no use giving them a false thing just because the President wants to put a check with his name on it in the mail.”
After Blitzer doubled down on his assertion that millions of Americans need help through a COVID-19 relief package, he asked the House speaker why she can’t work out a deal with the President and not “let the perfect, as they say here in Washington, be the enemy of the good.”
Pelosi insisted that she “will not let the wrong be the enemy of the right.”
The exchange between Pelosi and Blitzer grew more tense as the CNN anchor continued pressing the House speaker on the urgency of reaching an agreement on COVID-19 relief, which eventually led to Pelosi accuse Blitzer again of being a GOP apologist.
Pelosi went on shoot back at Blitzer when he asked her about why she can’t speak directly with Trump to reach a deal.
“What makes me amused, if it weren’t so sad is how you all think that you know more about the suffering of the American people than those of us who are elected by them to represent them at that table,” Pelosi told Blitzer.
Pelosi continued scolding Blitzer as she defended her unwillingness to accept the White House’s proposals.
“With all due respect, and we’ve known each other a long time, you really don’t know what you’re talking about,” Pelosi said. “Do a service to the issue and have some level of respect for the people who have worked on these issues, written the bill to begin with.”
Pelosi and Blitzer continued going in circles as they kept clashing during the 13-minute long interview.
As the interview wrapped up, the House speaker sarcastically told Blitzer: “Thank you for your sensitivity to our constituents’ needs.”
Blitzer replied that he is “sensitive to them, because I see them on the street begging for food, begging for money.”
Pelosi then squeezed in one more sarcastic remark before Blitzer ended their fiery exchange.
“Have you fed them? We feed them! We feed them,” Pelosi said.
Watch the exchange below:
A clearly irritated Pelosi going at it with Wolf Blitzer:
"What I say to you is; I don't know why you're always an apologist – and many of of your colleagues – an apologist for the Republican position." pic.twitter.com/JBzCmpsBUO
— Zach Purser Brown (@zachjourno) October 13, 2020