While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) distanced herself from controversial comments made by newly-elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), she also appeared to excuse them by comparing Tlaib’s words to the president’s.
During a town hall on MSNBC, Pelosi defended Tlaib’s words — which described President Donald Trump as a “motherf**ker” — as “freedom of speech.”
Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib tells cheering crowd that Trump impeachment coming
“We’re going to go in and impeach the motherfucker” pic.twitter.com/oQJYqR78IA
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) January 4, 2019
According to NBC News, she noted that she would have a “generational” disagreement with those words but wasn’t in the “censorship business.”
“I don’t like that language, I wouldn’t use that language, I don’t establish any language standards for my colleagues,” she said, “but I don’t think it’s anything worse than the president has said.”
After MSNBC host Joy Reid asked Pelosi whether those types of comments made Democratic oversight more difficult, Pelosi eventually pivoted back to Trump.
Watch Pelosi’s comments below:
“Words weigh a ton,” she said, “and the president has to realize that his words weigh a ton too and some of the words he used [have] a direct impact on people’s lives. My colleague’s comments do not have an impact on people’s lives.”
She also suggested that Tlaib’s words were commonplace and that they weren’t that significant given that the Democratic caucus didn’t push impeachment as Tlaib did.
Pelosi, whose party failed to retake the Senate in 2018, previously called impeachment “a gift to Republicans” before the midterms. She also pushed back on billionaire Tom Steyer’s campaign to impeach Trump, arguing that he should focus instead on showing how bad Trump’s tax bill was.
A comment from someone like Tlaib, however, didn’t seem to worry Pelosi that much as Trump’s base was already fairly consolidated, according to her. “I think it probably consolidates his base but I don’t think they need much consolidation. I don’t think it makes that much difference,” she said.
As IJR previously noted, Pelosi was much more critical of one of her members, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), when she called on Americans to harass administration officials in public places.
“Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable,” she said at the time.