Nancy Pelosi Says Her Initial Reaction As The Capitol Riot Began Was 'Let Me At ’Em'

“I said, ‘I can handle them!’” the speaker of the House said when asked what was “going through her mind” on Jan. 6, 2021.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was ready to fight for democracy … literally.

The congresswoman, 82, was asked Monday during the annual Senator Barbara Boxer Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, what she was thinking “when it became clear police had lost control” during the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

“In terms of the assault on the Capitol, democracy and Constitution … what was going through my mind? Being raised in a family of all boys … I was like, ‘Let me at ’em,’” Pelosi said. “But the security did not have that same thought, and they just pulled me from the podium.”

She continued: “I said, ‘No, no, I can handle it,’ because sometimes they act up, they do nasty things verbally and all that in the Congress. And I said, ‘I can handle them,’ and [security] said, ‘No, this is different.’”

Pelosi emphasized that the “traumatic effect” the insurrectionists had on “members, on staff, on maintenance people who maintain the Capitol” was something she could “never forgive them for.”

“I’m telling you, this had every bad thing about it: It had racism, it had sexism, it had antisemitism…. The things they were saying, the things they were doing — again, the assault on our democracy — instigated by the president of the United States.”

On that day, thousands of supporters of Donald Trump, who had lost his bid for a second White House term, marched to the U.S. Capitol to try to stop Congress and Vice President Mike Pence from certifying the Electoral College vote count for Democrat Joe Biden. The crowd had been spurred on by Trump, who had just had a rally nearby in which said the 2020 election was “stolen” from him, even though he’d lost by 7 million votes.

Pelosi, who was frequently attacked by Trump during his presidency, was a main target of the attackers. Rioters called her by name as they searched the hallways of the Capitol. One man stole her lectern while another stormed into her office, sat at her desk, snapped a photo and left her a note calling her a “biatch.”

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