In a tense interview on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer of being a Republican “apologist” after he confronted her on stalled talks over a COVID-19 relief package.
House Democrats, Senate Republicans and the White House have been trying for months to negotiate an economic stimulus package. Pelosi has slammed the Trump administration’s latest $1.8 trillion offer — which is $400 billion less than what Democrats most recently called for, and down from a proposed $3.4 trillion in May.
Blitzer questioned Pelosi’s rejection of the offer, asking her to respond to a tweet from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) that urged Democrats to accept the offer.
“People in need can’t wait until February. 1.8 trillion is significant & more than twice Obama stimulus,” Khanna wrote, imploring Democrats to “make a deal & put the ball in” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s court.
“What I say to you is, I don’t know why you’re always an apologist and many of your colleagues are apologists for the Republican position,” Pelosi replied.
“Ro Khanna, that’s nice. That isn’t what we’re going to do. And nobody’s waiting until February. 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,” she said.
Blitzer pointed out that millions of Americans have lost their jobs, are struggling with food and rent, and need support now. He asked Pelosi why she won’t call President Donald Trump directly and work out a deal.
Pelosi, who hasn’t spoken with Trump in months, has been in talks with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
“What makes me amused, if it weren’t so sad, is how you all think that 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.
In a letter to Democrats over the weekend, Pelosi trashed the GOP offer, saying the president “only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up.” She said the offer failed to address numerous issues, including virus testing, tracing and vaccine development; addressing the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color; and providing relief to U.S. territories and Native American tribes.
Those urging Pelosi to take the deal say it brings much-needed aid to working Americans faster, puts the onus on Senate Republicans, and, with just weeks before the election, comes as a rare gift from the Trump administration.
Blitzer brought up Pelosi’s mention of Trump getting credit for checks going out to Americans and asked, “Is that what this is all about? Not allow the president to take credit if there’s a deal that would help millions of Americans right now?”
“No, I don’t care about that. He’s not that important,” Pelosi said. She added: “With all due respect, and we’ve known each other a long time, you really don’t know what you’re talking about.”
As the heated back-and-forth continued, Blitzer eventually brought the interview to a close after Pelosi accused him of defending the Trump administration “with no knowledge of the difference between our two bills.”
“These are incredibly difficult times right now. We will leave it on that note,” Blitzer said.
“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 I feel confidence in my chairs,” Pelosi shot back.
“It’s not about me. It’s about millions of Americans who can’t put food on the table, who can’t pay the rent,” Blitzer said.
“And we represent them!” Pelosi repeatedly exclaimed.
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. as they say,” Blitzer retorted.
“Always the case, but we’re not even close to the good,” replied Pelosi.
Watch the interview above.