Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Thursday rejected the suggestion that she “hates” President Donald Trump, and said that her Catholic faith prevents her from hating anyone.
"I don't hate anybody. I was raised in a Catholic house, we don't hate anybody—not anybody in the world,” said Pelosi. She had been asked by a journalist during her weekly press briefing if she “hates President Trump.”
Pelosi had earlier announced the House Democrats would begin drafting the articles of impeachment.
"As a Catholic I resent you using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me," a visibly angered Pelosi said, pointed her finger at the journalist. She went on to claim that she prays for Trump “all the time.”
“So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that," she added. The Speaker said that any disagreement with Trump was rooted in policy, not in who he was as a person.
Pelosi has in the past encouraged people to pray for President Trump. In October, Pelosi said that people should pray for the president’s health after she abruptly left a meeting with the President. In September, Pelosi said that she prays for the Trump family “all the time,” and that she “wish(es) that he would pray for the safety of other families and do something courageous on guns.”
On Twitter, Trump said that he did not believe Pelosi prays for him, “not even close,” and that Pelosi had suffered a “nervous fit” during her briefing.
“She hates that we will soon have 182 great new judges and sooo much more,” said Trump. “Help the homeless in your district Nancy,” he added.
Pelosi has repeatedly cited her Catholic faith in the political realm, and used it to justify her positions, especially her long-standing support for abortion. Pelosi’s statements have occasioned significant pushback from members of the Catholic hierarchy at different times.
In 2008, in her second year as Speaker of the House, Pelosi stated on an August 24 episode of “Meet the Press” that "as an ardent, practicing Catholic, [abortion] is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition,” and that her faith “shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose.”
At least 22 bishops released statements correcting Pelosi on this statement, and clarified the Church’s teachings on abortion.
“While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development,” said a statement published Aug. 25, 2008 by Cardinal Justin Rigali and then- Bishop William Lori.
At the time, Rigali was the chair of the USCCB’s pro-life activities committee, and Lori led the USCCB Committee on Doctrine. Lori is now the Archbishop of Baltimore and Rigali retired in 2011.
In June 2013, Pelosi opposed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation and said that the bill was an effort to ensure that “there will be no abortion in our country.”
“As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this,” she said at the time. “I don't think it should have anything to do with politics.”