House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lost her cool on Tuesday during an interview with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, calling the veteran newsman a Republican “apologist” and claiming he didn’t know what he was “talking about” after he pressed her over the long-stalled stimulus package.
With the White House, House Democrats, and Senate Republicans still at a stalemate over the much-needed coronavirus relief funds—made worse by the president’s off-again/on-again approach—Pelosi rejected the Trump administration’s latest $1.8 trillion proposal, which is $400 billion less than what the House passed this month. The speaker further scoffed at it on Tuesday, saying President Donald Trump “only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the [stock] market to go up.”
“As you know, there are Americans who are being evicted from their homes. They can’t pay their rent. Many Americans are waiting in food lines for the first time in their lives,” Blitzer noted at the top of his Tuesday afternoon interview with Pelosi, setting the tone. “Can you look them in the eye, Madam Speaker, and explain why you don’t want to accept the president’s latest stimulus offer?”
Pelosi, meanwhile, wondered aloud if Blitzer would “ask the same question of the Republicans” before complaining that the GOP bill doesn’t meet the needs of Americans. She then insisted that she knows what the needs of her constituents are before the CNN anchor interrupted her.
“Excuse me for interrupting but they need the money right now,” he declared. “Members of your own caucus, Madam Speaker, want to accept this deal. 1.8 trillion dollars.”
Blitzer then brought up California Rep. Ro Khanna’s call for Pelosi to accept a deal because Americans can’t wait until after the election, prompting the speaker to lash out at the longtime CNN journalist.
“What I say to you is I don’t know why you are always an apologist—and many of your colleagues—are always an apologist for the Republican position,” she grumbled. “Ro Khanna, that’s nice. That’s not what we’re going to do. Nobody’s waiting for February.”
Blitzer then pointed out that while millions of Americans are suffering, the president is signaling that he’s ready to accept a deal by tweeting “go big or go home” to Republicans.
“He wants more,” he added. “Why not work out a deal with him and don’t let the perfect, as they say here in Washington, be the enemy of the good?”
“I will not let the wrong be the enemy of the right,” Pelosi shot back.
“What is wrong with 1.8 trillion dollars?” Blitzer retorted.
After the House leader began laying out all of the things the White House proposal doesn’t include, Blitzer noted that former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang—who is now a CNN contributor—is also calling for Pelosi to accept Trump’s deal.
“Honest to God,” she exclaimed. “You really—I can’t get over it because Andrew Yang is lovely. Ro is lovely. But they are not negotiating this situation. They have no idea of the particulars. They have no idea of what the language is here!”
Following the speaker admitting that she doesn’t speak directly to the president anymore and instead deals with his representatives, Blitzer once again pointed out that many Democrats are calling for her to accept the deal before bringing up her recent remarks.
“Is that what this is all about to not allow the president to take credit if there’s a deal that would help millions of Americans right now?” Blitzer pressed the speaker.
“He is not that important,” Pelosi proclaimed, adding: “But let me say this, with all due respect… and you know we have known each other for a long time. You really don’t know what you’re talking about! The plural of anecdote is not data.”
The speaker, meanwhile, continued to defend how she has negotiated the stimulus package, prompting Blitzer to respond that he has the “greatest respect” for her but also knows that $1.8 trillion is a lot of money for Americans who are in desperate need.
The two continued to go back and forth over whether or not Pelosi would strike a deal with Trump, all while Pelosi appeared to lose more and more patience with Blitzer pressing her on the matter.
“Madam Speaker, these are incredibly difficult times right now. We will leave it on that note,” Blitzer said as the tense interview wound to an end.
“We will leave it on the note that you are not right on this, Wolf, and I hate to say that to you but I feel confident about it and I feel confident about my colleagues and confidence in my chairs,” she snapped back.
The anchor, looking to get the last word, implored Pelosi to not allow “the perfect be the enemy of the good,” causing the Democratic leader to fire back.
“Thank you for your sensitivity to our constituents’ needs,” Pelosi snarked.
“I am sensitive to them because I see them on the streets begging for food,” Blitzer replied.
“Have you fed them? We feed them,” the speaker fired back.