Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi slammed veteran CNN host Wolf Blitzer as a ‘Republican apologist’ in a fiery meltdown on Tuesday evening.
During the heated live segment on ‘The Situation Room’, Blitzer pushed the Californian congresswoman to say why she is holding up President Donald Trump’s $1.8trillion COVID-19 relief bill, leaving Pelosi fuming that he didn’t know what he was talking about.
Blitzer hit back by asking why Pelosi’s Democrat allies are calling on her to get the deal done, citing the likes of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and fellow California Democrat Ro Khanna.
The 80-year-old Speaker has found herself increasingly isolated in recent days as she is pushed from within her own party to reach compromise on a deal to bring further economic relief to the American people.
They have said that people struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout cannot wait until February for another deal to be passed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a live meltdown over a further coronavirus relief bill during an interview with CNN host Wolf Blitzer on ‘The Situation Room’ on Tuesday evening
Pelosi’s comments came after Democrat allies called on her for compromise
‘I don’t know why you’re always an apologist — and many of your colleagues, apologists for the Republican position,’ Pelosi responded as Blitzer mentioned Khanna’s comments on the bill.
‘Ro Khanna, that’s nice. That isn’t what we’re going to do. And nobody’s waiting until February.’
She said that she could not accept the Republican deal as it is, because child tax credits and earned income credits were ‘eliminated’.
‘They minimize the need for childcare, which is the threshold with which people, mothers and fathers, can go to work if they have that,’ she added.
‘I want this very much now, because people need help now, but 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.’
‘We know the problem out there,’ Blitzer interrupted, ‘but there are millions of Americans who have lost their jobs. They can’t pay the rent. Kids need the food—’
‘That’s right, and that’s what we’re trying to get done,’ Pelosi fired back.
The fireworks began early in the interview as Blitzer off the bat asked Pelosi why she wouldn’t accept the Republican party offer.
He asked her to look Americans ‘in the eye… and explain why you don’t want to accept the president’s latest stimulus offer’.
‘I hope you’ll ask the same question of the Republicans on why they don’t want to meet the needs of the American people,’ Pelosi responded.
‘But let me say to those people because all of my colleagues — we represent these people … and their needs are not addressed in the president’s proposal. So when you say to me, “Why don’t you accept theirs?’ Why don’t they accept ours?”‘
Pelosi was criticized for not attempting to speak directly to President Trump to try and come to a deal. Pictured, the president speaking at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday
Pelosi blasted Wolf Blitzer, pictured, as a ‘Republican apologist’ during the interview
Pelosi became increasingly agitated during the interview with Blitzer on Tuesday
Blitzer also asked Pelosi why she wouldn’t call President Trump directly to try to work on the deal.
‘Why not work out a deal with [President Trump] and don’t let the perfect as they say here in Washington, be the enemy of the good?’ Blitzer said.
‘Well I will not let the wrong be the enemy of the right,’ Pelosi answered.
‘What’s wrong with $1.8 trillion?’ Blitzer asked, as he pressed her further.
‘You know what, do you have any idea what the difference is between the spending that they have in their bill and what we have in our bill?’ an increasingly frustrated Pelosi said.
‘With all due respect you really don’t know what you’re talking about,’ she snapped.
Pelosi added that she does not deal directly with Trump but with one of his representatives, but accused the president of only looking out for the wealthy.
Pelosi has said that the $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package offered by Republicans Friday is inadequate
‘What makes me amused if it weren’t so sad, is how you all think 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 said.
She added that the Democrats who are criticizing her for not accepting the bill are not ‘negotiating this situation’.
‘They have no idea of the particulars. They have no idea of what the language is here,’ she claimed.
The on-air spat continued until the dying seconds as both Pelosi and Blitzer attempted to have the last word and the speaker accusing the TV host of ‘defending the administration all this time’.
‘Madam speaker, these are incredibly difficult times right now and we’ll leave on that note,’ Blitzer said.
‘No, we’ll leave it on the note that you’re not right on this, Wolf, and I hate to say that to you,’ Pelosi responded. ‘But I feel confident about it and I feel confident about my colleagues and I feel confident in my [committee] chairs.’
It continued for another minute with neither party willing to give in.
‘Thank you for your sensitivity to our constituents’ needs,’ Pelosi said sarcastically, after Blitzer told her the bill is ‘about millions of Americans who can’t put food on the table, who can’t pay the rent, and who are having trouble getting by’.
‘I am sensitive to them because I see them on the street begging for food, begging for money,’ Blitzer said.
‘Have you fed them? We feed them,’ she hit back, just as the segment was going to a commercial break.
The interview faced immediate criticism from Republicans who called on Pelosi again to work toward compromise.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, pictured, said he will continued talks with Pelosi
‘Nancy Pelosi is asked a simple question, and she immediately resorts to name-calling,’ tweeted House Minority Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
‘So I’ll ask her again here: Speaker Pelosi: Why not make a deal? Millions of Americans are hurting while you single-handedly block support for workers and families.’
President Donald Trump on Friday offered a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package in talks with Pelosi after urging his team on Twitter to ‘go big’ – moving closer to Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal.
However, the proposal was dismissed by Pelosi as inadequate.
In a weekly letter to Democratic colleagues, she explained that the proposal lacked a ‘strategic plan to crush the virus’ and gave President Trump too much power in deciding how the funds would be spent.
‘This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back,’ Pelosi wrote.
Yet the House Speaker’s decision drew criticism from some Democrats over the weekend, leaving Pelosi isolated in her refusal to accept the deal.
Khanna, as noted by Blitzer, wrote on Twitter: ‘People in need can’t wait until February,
‘1.8 trillion is significant & more than twice Obama stimulus. It will allow Biden to start with infrastructure.
‘Obama won in 08 by doing the right thing on TARP instead of what was expedient. Make a deal & put the ball in McConnell court.’
House Minority Speaker Kevin McCarthy criticized the interview
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang was among Pelosi’s critics
Andrew Yang tweeted on Saturday: ‘Nancy Pelosi take this deal! Put politics aside people are hurting.’
Dan Pfeiffer, the co-host of the left-leaning podcast ‘Pod Save America’, also tweeted: ‘While there are potential risks, Democrats should aggressively pursue a COVID Relief deal with Trump.
‘It’s the right thing to do, but the politics can also work in our favor.’
In a letter to lawmakers, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of State Mark Meadows said they would continue to talk to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to try to reach agreement on a comprehensive bill.
But they said Congress should ‘immediately vote’ on legislation to enable the use of the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds, which total around $130 billion.
‘The all or nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,’ they wrote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the Republican-led U.S. Senate would vote next week on a targeted, $500 billion coronavirus economic aid bill of the type Democrats already have rejected as they hold out for trillions in relief.
With negotiations on the broader package stalled and Election Day approaching, both Republicans and Democrats faced pressure to take action to help Americans weather a pandemic that has killed more than 214,000 people and damaged the U.S. economy.
Congress passed $3trillion in coronavirus aid, including help for the unemployed, in the spring.
Both sides say more aid is needed now, but appear to remain far apart.
With leaders of the Democratic-run House and Republican Senate still sparring, a bipartisan deal on coronavirus relief remains unlikely before November 3 presidential and congressional elections.
President Donald Trump, a Republican who called off coronavirus relief talks last week only to restart them days later, pushed lawmakers again on Tuesday to ‘Go big or go home!!!’
Pelosi also took a swipe on Tuesday at Trump’s about-face.
‘Following his tweet, the stock market went down and so did he in the polls,’ Pelosi said of Trump’s assertion last week that there would be no aid package before the election.
This was not the first time Pelosi has hit out at a TV host and accused them of defending Republicans.
In August, she lashed out at a ‘PBS NewsHour’ anchor Judy Woodruff and called her an ‘advocate’ for the GOP. They were also discussing coronavirus relief.
Tuesday’s breakdown came a month after the leading Democrat was caught in a closed hair salon flouting coronavirus restrictions by not wearing a face mask.
After the video of her ill-advised salon trip went viral, Pelosi claimed she had fallen for ‘a set up’.
It comes a month after Pelosi was caught breaking COVID-19 restrictions in a hair salon
‘I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I’ve been to over the years many times when they said we’re able to accommodate people one person at a time,’ she said.
‘As it turns out, it was a setup. It was a set up, and I take responsibility for falling for a setup.
‘I think that this salon owes me an apology, for setting me up.’
Pelosi also sought to defend her lack of mask by saying that she had taken it off to wash her hair.
‘I just had my hair washed. I don’t wear a mask when I’m washing my hair. Do you wear a mask when you’re washing your hair?’ she incredulously asked reporters.
‘I always wear a mask. And that picture is when I just came out of the bowl.’
The California congresswoman’s stylist defended her by suggesting that the owner of eSalon, Erica Kious, had deliberately set Pelosi up and had authorized the controversial hair appointment when San Francisco salons were due to be shuttered.
But Kious denied that claim, telling Fox News: ‘[Pelosi] had called the stylist, or her assistant did, and had made the appointment so the appointment was already booked so there was no way I could have set that up.
‘And I’ve had a camera system in there for five years, I mean I didn’t go in there and turn cameras on as soon as she walked in and set her up so that’s absolutely false.’
‘Not only did I not set her up, her assertion that she is a victim and set up is totally false and outrageous.’
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany played the leaked video during a press briefing last month and branded Pelosi a hypocrite
Donald Trump resumed his mockery of the House Speaker for her haircut
Kious has maintained that she did not approve the appointment and did not deliberately set Pelosi up – as the White House emerged as one of the congresswoman’s fiercest critics.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany played the leaked video during a press briefing and branded Pelosi a hypocrite.
‘Apparently the rules do not apply to Speaker Nancy Pelosi,’ McEnany said.
Trump also weighed in, tweeting: ‘Crazy Nancy Pelosi is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!
‘The Beauty Parlor owner must really dislike Crazy Nancy Pelosi. Turning her in, on tape, is a really big deal. She probably treats him like she treats everyone else…’