Speaker Nancy Pelosi was visibly appalled at much of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, but there was one particular line that seemed to be bugging her the next morning: “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”
“It was a threat. It was an all-out threat,” the California Democrat told reporters Wednesday morning.
“The president should not bring threats to the floor of the House,” Pelosi said. “He said he wasn’t going to cooperate unless we didn’t exercise our constitutional responsibility to oversight.”
And that’s what it is, she emphasized. “It’s not investigations. It’s oversight.”
Watch: Optimistic, hypocritical and long — members sum up State of the Union in 3 words
Democrats are willing to work with Trump on matters like lowering prescription drug prices and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure if he was sincere, the speaker said. But she wasn’t so sure he was.
“It’s a speech. It’s a presentation. It’s a performance,” Pelosi said.
The speaker also said that her forward reaching applause line that appeared sarcastic and has become a viral internet meme was sincere. Pelosi’s infamous clap came as Trump said, “We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.”
“It wasn’t sarcastic,” Pelosi said. “Look at what I was applauding. I wanted him to know that was a very welcome message.”
Other House Democrats were also appalled at Trump’s comment on investigations.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said if Trump’s comment was intended as a threat, that is “unfortunate.”
“He seems to threaten everyone though. It’s a pattern for him,” the Maryland Democrat said.
Hoyer said Democrats weren’t intimidated by the remark and will continue their oversight efforts.
“It’s certainly not going to have any impact,” he said.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries told reporters Wednesday, “We will not be bullied by the president of the United States. That said, we’re not going to overreach. We’re not going to over-investigate.”