Nancy Pelosi’s criticism of immigration negotiations between Democrats and Republicans earned her a rebuke from her own party.
The House Minority Leader apparently had a problem with the “five white guys” leading the bipartisan talks on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and shared her frustration at a press conference on Thursday, Politico reported.
“The five white guys I call them, you know,” Pelosi said, making a reference to the Five Guys hamburger chain. “Are they going to open a hamburger stand next or what?”
“That could’ve been done four months ago,” the California Democrat complained about the lack of minority involvement and the meeting of House and Senate leaders that took place earlier this week.
“The very idea that this week they’re saying, ‘Oh why don’t we get four white guys and General Kelly to come and do this,’” she continued.
Three of the “white guys” are Republicans – Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and White House chief of staff John Kelly. But the other two, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, are part of Pelosi’s own party.
And Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House behind Pelosi, was not applauding her remarks.
“That comment is offensive. I am committed to ensuring DREAMers are protected and I will welcome everyone to the table who wants to get this done,” the 19-term Maryland Democrat told Politico.
A spokesman for Pelosi clarified that she was not being critical of members of her own party.
“Leader Pelosi has every confidence in the leadership of Whip Hoyer and Senator Durbin, which they have demonstrated on this topic for years,” Drew Hammill said. “It’s not a question of who’s there but who’s not there.”
At her press conference, Pelosi pressed that it was important to have a minority representative at such important talks.
“The sensitivity even on the wording is really important [and] for people who are engaged in these issues to be there at the table,” she said.
Hoyer and more than 20 bipartisan legislators met with Trump on Tuesday to negotiate a possible deal on the expiring Obama-era program. At one point, Hoyer challenged the president on the plan for full “comprehensive” immigration reform.
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