President Donald Trump, in a surprising turn, defended Democrat Nancy Pelosi amid her dispute with Rep. Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez and other freshman Democrats, saying the House speaker “is not a racist.”
“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,” Trump said while speaking to reporters before departing on Marine One.
Trump and Pelosi have had an up-and-down relationship since she assumed the speakership and has led a House Democratic majority during Trump’s third year in office. She has sought to serve as a check on the President but also resisted some calls from within her ranks to push for Trump’s impeachment.
Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post Wednesday Pelosi has been explicitly “singling out of newly elected women of color” in her criticism of the outspoken progressives. Asked by CNN’s Manu Raju if she thought Pelosi was racist, the Queens congresswoman said: “No, no! Absolutely not, absolutely not.”
Trump said Ocasio-Cortez “should not be doing what she’s doing” adding she’s being “very disrespectful to somebody 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,” Trump said.
Pelosi responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments Thursday saying: “I’ve said what I’m going to say in the caucus.”
The day before, Pelosi delivered an impassioned pitch for unity during a closed-door caucus meeting, encouraging her colleagues to turn their ire on the Republican Senate majority leader instead of one another.