On the heels of her directive to House Democrats to proceed on articles of impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) grew heated when a reporter asked if she hates President Trump.
The question was tossed out by Sinclair Broadcasting Group reporter James Rosen as Pelosi was exiting the press conference. Rosen clarified that he wanted to question Pelosi about assertions made by Republicans involved in the impeachment inquiry about Democrats’ motivation for the probe.
“I don’t hate anybody,” she said, “I was raised in a Catholic house, and I don’t hate anybody, not anybody in the world. Don’t accuse me–”
“I did not accuse you, I asked a question,” said Rosen, who previously worked for Fox News. “Representative Collins suggested yesterday that the Democrats are doing this simply because they don’t like the guy. I think it’s an important point.”
“Let me just–” she said, returning to the podium, “I think the President is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our dreamers of which we are very proud. I think he is in denial about the climate crisis. However, that is about the election. Take it up in the election. This is about Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the President’s violation of his oath of office.”
“And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me,” she continued. “I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and I always pray for the President. And I still pray for the President. I pray for the President all the time. So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.”
CNN asked Pelosi during the press conference how impeachment might impact some of her more vulnerable members, but the speaker immediately shut down the question, reiterating that impeachment was not about politics.
“It isn’t about politics, partisanship, Democrats and Republicans. That is totally insignificant. It is about the Constitution of the United States, the oath of office we take to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic,” she said. “It is about the President not honoring his oath of office. So no, I’m not concerned.”
Sinclair did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment. Rosen pointed TPM to a statement Sinclair provided to CNN.
Rosen raised the question again minutes later during House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) weekly presser, asking the minority leader if he bought Pelosi’s response.
“Do you take the speaker at her word? Do you believe her? Do you believe she’s telling the truth when she says she does not hate the President and that’s not what this is about?”
McCarthy dodged, invoking the remarks made by freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) upon her election, in which she vowed to “impeach the motherfucker.” When pressed further, McCarthy said he took Pelosi “at her word,” before suggesting that Pelosi isn’t properly assessing the facts of the inquiry.
“So you don’t accept what she said?” Rosen asked.
“I think I have a hard time believing it,” McCarthy responded.
Predictably, President Trump weighed in on the petty back-and-forth, saying he doesn’t believe Pelosi when she says she prays for him.
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