House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) falsely suggested during an interview on Tuesday afternoon that she never called federal law enforcement officials “stormtroopers” and claimed that she said that they “acted like stormtroopers,” which is not what she said.
Pelosi appeared on MSNBC’s “The Beat” with host Ari Melber where she was asked about the following exchange from Attorney General William Barr’s testimony in front of Congress today:
REP. DOUG COLLINS (D-GA): “And the stormtrooper comments by the Speaker of House, and we know that that is a direct reference to the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party… don’t you think it encourages the violence that we’re seeing and encourages the participation against the police?”
ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: “I think that’s possible and I think it’s irresponsible to call these federal law enforcement officers stormtroopers.”
“Well, actually, I said they acted like stormtroopers,” Pelosi immediately claimed once the clip stopped playing.
Pelosi then tried to deflect from the criticisms by claiming that Barr did not have a problem when other people have allegedly compared federal law enforcement officials to Nazis. Barr was specifically asked about Pelosi’s comments, which is why he addressed the comments that she made.
“I said they acted like stormtroopers,” Pelosi claimed without evidence. “And they did and my colleagues have said that as well.”
.@SpeakerPelosi tries clarifying that she said federal police “acted like” stormtroopers but weren’t literally “stormtroopers” pic.twitter.com/Jiq7dqSYFf
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 28, 2020
On July 17, Pelosi tweeted, “Unidentified stormtroopers. Unmarked cars. Kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti. These are not the actions of a democratic republic. @DHSgov ’s actions in Portland undermine its mission. Trump & his stormtroopers must be stopped.”
Pelosi added, “First Amendment speech should never be met with one-sided violence from federal agents acting as Trump’s secret police, especially when unidentified. This is disgraceful behavior we would expect from a banana republic — not the government of the United States.”
First Amendment speech should never be met with one-sided violence from federal agents acting as Trump’s secret police, especially when unidentified. This is disgraceful behavior we would expect from a banana republic — not the government of the United States.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
Pelosi directly called the officers stormtroopers, which refers to the Brownshirts, a paramilitary organization of the German Nazi Party.
In Pelosi’s second tweet, she said the federal officers were “acting as Trump’s secret police.” The stormtroopers were not “secret police” in Nazi Germany, that was the Gestapo.
Pelosi’s claim in the tweets that the officers were “unidentified” is a lie. Top federal officials stated last week that the federal officers had their names taken off of their uniforms because they had been doxxed online and their personal information was put online, which put their families in danger. The officers had unique identifiers on them so that they could be held accountable if they did something wrong.
Pelosi continued by claiming that Barr “should be answering for what he did at Lafayette Square” when officials cleared out violent rioters, Barr told CBS News last month. Pelosi also appeared to mock Barr’s weight, saying that he was “like a blob,” which comes after Pelosi mocked Trump’s weight in May by falsely claiming that the president was “morbidly obese.”
“They were not peaceful protesters,” Barr said. “And that’s one of the big lies that the media seems to be perpetuating at this point.”
“There were three warnings given,” Barr continued in reference to the warnings that protesters got from authorities that they needed to move. “But let’s get back to why we took that action. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, okay, there were violent riots at Lafayette Park where the park police were under constant attack at the – behind their bike rack fences. They were battling over the fences. They were trying to get entry. They were throwing bricks and inflammable liquid at the police…”
“On Sunday, things reached a crescendo,” Barr continued. “The officers were pummeled with bricks. Crowbars were used to pry up the pavers at the park and they were hurled at police. There were fires set in not only St. John’s Church, but a historic building at Lafayette was burned down.”
“Here’s what the media is missing. This was not an operation to respond to that particular crowd. It was an operation to move the perimeter one block,” Barr continued, later adding, “By the way, there was no tear gas used. The tear gas was used Sunday when they had to clear H Street to allow the fire department to come in to save St. John’s Church. That’s when tear gas was used.”
“I didn’t see any video being played on the media of what was happening Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All I heard was comments about how peaceful the protesters were,” Barr added. “I didn’t hear about the fact that there were hundred and fifty law enforcement officers injured and many taken to the hospital with concussions. So it wasn’t a peaceful protest. We had to get control over Lafayette Park, and we had to do it as soon as we were able to do that.”