Trump: Pelosi 'Not a Racist'

'For them to call her a racist is a disgrace'

July 12, 2019

President Donald Trump said during a Friday press appearance that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) "is not a racist," responding to comments from freshman representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez implying that the speaker holds racist opinions.

"Cortez should treat Nancy Pelosi with respect. She should not be doing what she's doing," Trump said. "And I'll tell you something about Nancy Pelosi that you know better than I do. She is not a racist, okay? She is not a racist. For them to call her a racist is a disgrace."

Trump also mentioned Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), saying that "if half of the things they're saying about her are true, she shouldn't even be in office." He added that Ocasio-Cortez and Omar, as well as Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.), are "being very disrespectful" to Pelosi.

Pelosi and the so-called "squad" of freshman congresswomen have been engaged in a feud since the four took office in January. The tensions snapped earlier this week, when Pelosi downplayed the four's influence over Congress in an interview with the New York Times.

"All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world," Pelosi said. "But they didn't have any following. They're four people and that's how many votes they got."

Ocasio-Cortez shot back with a tweet criticizing Pelosi.

Pelosi later told House Democratic leaders not to criticize her in public.

"You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK," Pelosi said, according to the Hill.

Ocasio-Cortez doubled down on her pushback, implying that Pelosi's rhetoric might be motivated by racial animus.

"When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm's distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood," Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Post on Wednesday. "But the persistent singling out ... it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful ... the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color."
Rep. William Lacy Clay (D., Mo.), who is black, called out Ocasio-Cortez for her comments on Pelosi.
"You're getting push back so you resort to using the race card?" he asked. "Unbelievable."