President Donald Trump surprised many when he decided to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying that she “is not a racist.”
Trump’s comments come at a time when Pelosi is in the middle of a public dispute with freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats.
“I’ll tell you something about Nancy Pelosi that you know better than I do, she is not a racist. OK? She is not a racist. For them to call her a racist is a disgrace,” the President told reporters before he departed on Marine One.
President Trump and Speaker Pelosi have had a turbulent relationship since she assumed the speakership. At times serving as a check on him, Pelosi has repeatedly refused to heed calls from her own party members to open impeachment proceedings for Trump.
In the latest development involving the House Speaker, Ocasio-Cortez said Pelosi has been explicitly “singling out of newly elected women of color” in her criticism of the outspoken progressives. The freshman Democrat, stressed, however, that she didn’t think Pelosi was a racist, rejecting even the slightest implication otherwise.
“No, no! Absolutely not, absolutely not,” said Ocasio-Cortez in response to whether she perceived Pelosi as such.
In defending Pelosi, Trump further said Ocasio-Cortez “should not be doing what she’s doing” because that showed lack of respect toward someone “that’s been there a long time.”
“I don’t think that Nancy can let that go on. A group of people that came … I don’t know where they came from,” the President said.
Pelosi herself responded to the criticism by noting, “I’ve said what I’m going to say in the caucus.”
On Wednesday, she told her caucus they should turn their ire on the Republican Senate majority leader instead of one another.