House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appearance on ABC News’ “This Week” Sunday has sparked strong criticism after she was asked if she supports the growing uprising in Iran against the country’s oppressive regime following its showdown with President Trump.
After initially lying about the cause of the horrific crash of a Ukrainian passenger jet that took the lives of all 176 people on board, Iran finally admitted late last week what the world suspected: they shot down the Ukrainian 737, claiming that the plane was accidentally targeted when it turned toward an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military base the night the regime launched missiles at two Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed.
Iran’s admission — which came after three days of Iran’s leaders accusing America of “propagating fallacies” about the crash as part of a “psychological operation” against the country — added more fuel to a growing uprising against the terror-sponsoring regime, Iranians taking to the streets, photos and video showing protesters “attacking images of former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani while also refusing to walk on American and Israeli flags.” Over the weekend, the Iranian government responded by firing “tear gas, rubber bullets and eventually live ammunition to disperse demonstrators.”
Amid the reports, former Bill Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulous asked Pelosi on Sunday if she supports the Iranian protesters and thinks it would be a “good thing” if the theocratic regime were overthrown. The Democratic leader responded by initially refusing to give a straight answer. Instead, the California Democrat questioned the unity of the protests and downplayed the role Iran’s tragic downing of the passenger jet has played in the growing movement.
“We’re seeing now demonstrations in the streets of Iran against the regime,” Stephanopoulos said. “Do you support those protesters? And would it be a good thing if they brought the regime down?”
“Well, the protesters are protesting, as I understand it, this brand of protesters, about the fact that that plane went down. And many students were on that plane,” she said. “These are largely students in the street.”
“I think the Iranians should have not had commercial flights going off there,” she said, in an obvious assertion before being interrupted by Stephanopoulos.
“They’re calling out the regime for lying. They’re saying ‘Death to Khamenei,’ as well,” he stressed, referencing Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“Well whatever it is,” said Pelosi, dismissively. “But the fact is this: There were protesters in the street before against the regime. After the taking out of Soleimani, there were protesters in the street joined together, as you know, against us. It wasn’t good.”
Having tried to make Trump the bad guy in the situation, Pelosi acknowledged Iran’s fault in shooting down the passenger plane. “Taking down this plan is a terrible, terrible tragedy,” she said, “and they should be held accountable for letting commercial flights go at a time that was so dangerous.”
The Democratic leader then emphasized what was apparently her key point. “But there are different reasons why people are in the street,” she said.
Pelosi’s problematic response to Stephanopoulous’s straightforward question — which appeared to be motivated by the speaker’s focus on making sure the Trump administration doesn’t get any credit for the Iranian people turning against the terror-sponsoring regime — earned the attention of RNC Research, which posted a clip of the exchange. “Pelosi dismisses protests in Iran against regime, ‘different reasons why people are in the street,'” RNC Research captioned the video.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 12, 2020
The clip has since made the rounds online, with many others, particularly on the right, similarly blasting the speaker for her response.