“We have to inoculate against that, we have to be prepared for that,” she told the Times last week.
The best way to do that, she said, is for voters to hand Trump an overwhelming defeat.
Describing her “coldblooded” plan for Democrats to win the White House in 2020, she said the party’s nominee must “own” the parts of the electorate that are “center-left” in ideology and in “the mainstream.”
Though several high-profile Democrats, including 2020 presidential hopefuls Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California, have urged the House to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, Pelosi has pushed back on such calls.
She has hinted that Trump’s behavior as outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report and the president’s subsequent efforts to block witnesses from testifying before congressional committees are grounds for impeachment.
But efforts to rid Trump of the presidency via impeachment would likely flounder in the Republican-controlled Senate, further divide an already fractured nation and alienate moderate Democratic voters, Pelosi suggested.
That’s why she believes Democrats’ best bet for ending the Trump presidency is to win the 2020 election by a landslide.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley called Pelosi’s concern “hilariously ironic” in a statement to HuffPost, claiming Democrats have refused to accept the results of the 2016 election and of Mueller’s report.
“Now, they have the audacity to question the President ‘accepting results?’” Gidley said. “Give me a break.”
Some warn Trump is already laying the groundwork to contest the 2020 election results should they not go in his favor. He has repeatedly spouted false claims of voter fraud, despite several studies and investigations that show it is not a serious problem.
Pelosi isn’t the first to publicly express concern over Trump’s potential refusal to give up the White House. His former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, told a congressional panel in February that he feared there would “never be a peaceful transition of power” if Trump loses in 2020.
Head over to the Times to read the full interview with Pelosi.
This article has been updated to include Gidley’s comment.