In an interview that aired on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly criticized President Trump’s “totally wrong and inappropriate” Twitter attack on a long-serving U.S. diplomat during last week’s impeachment testimony.
“I think even his most ardent supporters have to honestly admit this was the wrong thing for the president to do,” Pelosi said during a CBS “Face the Nation” interview, which was taped on Friday.
She continued: “He should not frivolously throw out insults. But that’s what he does. I think part of it is his own insecurity as an impostor. I think he knows full well that he’s in that office way over his head, and so he has to diminish everyone else.”
Earlier Friday, Trump had launched a broadside against Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, as she testified before the House Intelligence Committee. During the testimony, Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled from her post in the spring on orders from the White House, bluntly described the efforts of Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, to smear her and advance business interests in Ukraine.
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” Trump tweeted in real time as Yovanovitch testified, referring to her stint as an ambassador in that war-torn country.
The episode led to a strange moment during the hearing, in which Yovanovitch was asked by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to respond to Trump’s tweet, which she wasn’t aware of.
“I don’t think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu, Somalia, and not in other places,” Yovanovitch said haltingly. “I actually think that where I’ve served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better for the U.S. as well as for the countries that I’ve served in.”
Even Republicans were critical of the tweet, which Democrats labeled “witness intimidation.”
“I disagree with the tweet,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., an ardent defender of Trump during the hearing, but who also commended Yovanovitch for her decades of public service.
In a statement, the White House defended the Twitter jab. “The tweet was not witness intimidation, it was simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to,” press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.
For her part, Pelosi stopped short of calling the attack witness intimidation.
“I haven’t had a lot of time to pay attention to the president’s tweets and the legal implications of them,” she said on CBS. “I just think it was totally wrong and inappropriate — and typical of the president.”
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