Guthrie Asks Pelosi: Is Trump ‘Afraid of You? Afraid of Women in Congress?’

During a lengthy exclusive interview with incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for Thursday’s Today show, NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie touted how the Democratic leader questioned President Trump’s “manhood” and wondered if Pelosi thought Trump was “afraid” of her or women newly elected to Congress.

“After that infamous Oval Office meeting before the holidays, you reportedly came back, spoke to some members of your caucus, other Democrats, and said ‘The wall, it seems like it might be a manhood thing. It might be about his manhood’....Care to explain what you meant?,” Guthrie asked the new Speaker. Pelosi dodged: “Well, I wish that my members had not repeated that outside the room.”

 

 

There was no follow-up critical of Pelosi’s incivility. Instead, Guthrie teed her up to accuse Trump of sexism: “Do you think he deals with you differently because you’re a woman?” Pelosi declared: “I have no idea. We’ll see now how he will deal with the Speaker of the House....I hope he recognizes that a new day has dawned in America.”

Guthrie highlighted: “You said in August you thought he might be afraid of you and afraid of the women that are coming to Congress.” Pelosi sneered: “Well, I don’t know if he knows how to deal with women in power and women with strength. But we’ll see.”

Aside from that exchange, the rest of the interview was actually quite challenging for the Democrat. Guthrie began by wondering if Pelosi was willing to provide funding for a border wall in order to end the ongoing government shutdown. After Pelosi flatly refused, Guthrie pressed: “If you don’t compromise, then why isn’t the shutdown partially your responsibility as well?”

Continuing to discuss the shutdown, Guthrie called out the Democratic leader’s hypocrisy:

The President took a swipe, I think as recently as today, saying that you went on vacation to Hawaii during the shutdown. Now, you had said before the shutdown that he was being quite cavalier and that maybe the shutdown will give him more time to golf. But in the end, it was you that took a holiday.

Pelosi defensively pushed back: “What’s the difference if I take a holiday? I observed the Christmas holiday for a few days in Hawaii. Cut, in fact – cut in half the time I would have had with my family.” Guthrie backed off somewhat, asking if the President’s criticism was a “cheap shot.”

As the subject turned to the Russia investigation and some Democrats calling for Trump’s impeachment, the Today show co-host actually held Pelosi to her own past comments against impeachment: “You’ve said it would sad and divisive for the country to pursue impeachment. Are you willing to rule it out?”

Asking about Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Guthrie pointed out the longstanding legal assessment that a sitting president cannot be indicted: “Do you believe the Special Counsel should honor and observe the Department of Justice guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted?” Pelosi wasn’t convinced: “I do not think that, that is conclusive. No, I do not.” Guthrie proceeded to ask Pelosi about the matter four more times, with Democrat refusing to give a straight answer, ultimately claiming it was “an open discussion in terms of the law.”

Following the exchange about whether Trump was “afraid” of Pelosi, Guthrie brought up the Democratic leader’s unpopularity: “You, yourself, are quite the lightning rod. You actually have approval ratings that are lower than President Trump’s.”

Pelosi predictably blamed the GOP for her high unfavorable numbers:

The Republicans have spent over $100 million, 137,000 ads had my name in it in the last election. And they’re against me because I am effective. I’m effective as a legislator, I’m excellent at that. I’m effective politically as a fundraiser, the best. And they have to take me down. And that’s what they have tried to do. But they don’t – they just light my fire.

Guthrie announced: “A fire that’s set to launch her return to the highest rungs of politics.” Turning back to Pelosi, the host gushed: “You probably are the most powerful woman in government. Do you think about that? Do you think about what that means? Do you think about that as a personal accomplishment?”

While Guthrie deserves credit for the tough, substantive questions she put to Pelosi, the softer questions focused on gender politics provide insight into how the liberal media are likely to frame the Democrat’s return as House Speaker.

Here is a transcript of all of Guthrie’s questions to Pelosi during the January 3 interview:

7:06 AM ET

(...)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:  Are you willing to come up and give him some of this money for the wall?

NANCY PELOSI: No.

GUTHRIE: Because apparently, that’s the sticking point.

PELOSI: No, nothing for the wall.

(...)

GUTHRIE:  If you don’t compromise, then why isn’t the shutdown partially your responsibility as well?

PELOSI: It has nothing to do with us. It has nothing to do with us. It has the President saying, “I will hold six agencies of government hostage to my campaign promise that I was going to build a wall and that Mexico was going to pay for it.” That is so ridiculous.

GUTHRIE: He says, “Well, now I’ve redone this deal, new trade deal with Mexico, so ultimately Mexico is gonna pay for it.” Do you buy that?

(...)

7:07 AM ET

GUTHRIE: The President took a swipe, I think as recently as today, saying that you went on vacation to Hawaii during the shutdown. Now, you had said before the shutdown that he was being quite cavalier and that maybe the shutdown will give him more time to golf. But in the end, it was you that took a holiday.

PELOSI: What’s the difference if I take a holiday? I observed the Christmas holiday for a few days in Hawaii. Cut, in fact – cut in half the time I would have had with my family.

GUTHRIE: Was that a cheap shot?

(...)

7:08 AM ET

GUTHRIE:  Many Democrats are talking about impeachment. You’ve said it would sad and divisive for the country...

PELOSI: It would be.

GUTHRIE: ...to pursue impeachment. Are you willing to rule it out?

(...)

GUTHRIE: Do you believe the Special Counsel should honor and observe the Department of Justice guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted?

PELOSI: I do not think that, that is conclusive. No, I do not.

GUTHRIE: So you think it’s possible that Special Counsel Mueller could legally indict a sitting president?

PELOSI: Let’s just see what Mueller does. Let’s spend our time on getting results for the American people.

GUTHRIE: As you well know, there is long-standing Department of Justice guidance that states a sitting president should not be indicted, but it is not the law.

PELOSI: It is not the law. Everything indicates that a president can be indicted after he is no longer President of the United States.

GUTHRIE: What about a sitting president?

PELOSI: Well, a sitting president, when he’s no longer President of the United States.

GUTHRIE: A president who is in office, could Robert Mueller come back and say, “I am seeking an indictment”?

PELOSI: I think that is an open discussion. I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law.

GUTHRIE: Talk about your dynamic with President Trump. What’s it like to negotiate with him?

(...)

7:10 AM ET

GUTHRIE: After that infamous Oval Office meeting before the holidays, you reportedly came back, spoke to some members of your caucus, other Democrats, and said “The wall, it seems like it might be a manhood thing. It might be about his manhood.” That’s a statement that’s capable of interpretation. Care to explain what you meant?

PELOSI: Well, I wish that my members had not repeated that outside the room.

GUTHRIE: Do you think he deals with you differently because you’re a woman?

PELOSI: I have no idea. We’ll see now how he will deal with the Speaker of the House. And that doesn’t matter whether you’re a woman or not. But I hope he recognizes that a new day has dawned in America.

GUTHRIE: You said in August you thought he might be afraid of you and afraid of the women that are coming to Congress.

PELOSI: Well, I don’t know if he knows how to deal with women in power and women with strength. But we’ll see. Let’s hope for the best in that regard because, again, it is a new day for many people in Congress and in Washington, D.C. and in the country.

GUTHRIE: You, yourself, are quite the lightning rod. You actually have approval ratings that are lower than President Trump’s.

PELOSI: Well, he’s not so good. The Republicans have spent over $100 million, 137,000 ads had my name in it in the last election. And they’re against me because I am effective. I’m effective as a legislator, I’m excellent at that. I’m effective politically as a fundraiser, the best. And they have to take me down. And that’s what they have tried to do. But they don’t – they just light my fire.

GUTHRIE: A fire that’s set to launch her return to the highest rungs of politics. You probably are the most powerful woman in government.

PELOSI: In the United States, yeah.

GUTHRIE: Yes.

PELOSI: That’s true.

GUTHRIE: Do you think about that? Do you think about what that means? Do you think about that as a personal accomplishment?  

PELOSI: No, I think of it as a responsibility. I don’t think of it as an accomplishment. I think of it as a responsibility in how we go forward and what that means in terms of the lives of America’s working families. And that more – this isn’t breaking a glass ceiling, this is breaking a marble ceiling in the Capitol of the United States.

(...)

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