Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drew social media mockery Friday after wishing a “happy shwanza,” presumably to those who celebrate Kwanzaa, in her remarks following passage of the omnibus spending bill.
In what Pelosi said would likely be her last speech as speaker, she botched the name of the holiday, established in 1966 and celebrated by many African Americans. The 82-year-old California Democrat is poised to relinquish her gavel after Republicans took back the House majority in the November elections.
“I yield back the balance of my time and wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe New Year,” she said. “Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Shwanza. Happy Hanukkah.”
Pelosi ends her final speech as Speaker of the House by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and a "Happy Shwanza" pic.twitter.com/3NQBbhNJF5
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) December 23, 2022
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African-American culture that is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, culminating in a communal feast called Karamu. It was created by Maulana Karenga, an African American who was born Ronald McKinley Everett and became a civil rights activist before serving prison time for imprisoning and torturing two women he claimed were plotting against him.
Pelosi’s flub sparked ridicule on Twitter.
“Nancy Pelosi Wishes Everyone a ‘Happy Shwanza’ Absolutely embarrassing,” tweeted Daniel Wisniewski.
“WTF is Shwanza?” asked the popular Twitter account Clown World.
“Truth be told, Pelosi’s an idiot with power,” added conservative radio host Mark Levin.
Pelosi errant holiday wish came after the House passed the 4,155-page, $1.7 trillion spending bill over the objections of House Republicans and conservatives in the U.S. Senate. Critics complained that the bill is loaded with pork projects.
The bill includes $858 billion in defense funding as well as $772.5 billion for non-defense “discretionary programs,” according to a summary. Another $45 billion in aid to Ukraine is included, as well as billions in earmarks, or pet projects for lawmakers including $1.2 million for “LGBTQIA+ Pride Centers,” $477,000 for the Equity Institute in Rhode Island “to indoctrinate teachers with ‘antiracism virtual labs,’” and $3 million for the American LGBTQ+ Museum.
The bill also provides funding for a new FBI headquarters, designation of a federal building in San Francisco as the “Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building,” and $3.6 for a “Michelle Obama Trail” in Georgia.