Pelosi says Trump is ‘palsy-walsy’ with Putin

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said former President Trump is “palsy-walsy” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as she criticized the presumptive GOP presidential nominee for his tepid approach to aiding Ukraine.

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Pelosi took aim at the former president for suggesting last week that “Europe has to step up” and provide Ukraine with more money and “equalize.”

Pelosi hit back on the suggestion that Europe contribute more, saying it is “just indicative of how irresponsible he has been on this because he’s palsy-walsy, for some reason, with Putin.”

“For him to say that shows his lack of knowledge, his lack of values, and quite frankly, his lack of commitment to democracy,” she added.

Trump has for months expressed skepticism about the U.S. providing additional assistance to Ukraine in its war against Russia, arguing support for Ukraine is not a vital American interest and that Europe should be providing the bulk of the assistance. His views have been deeply influential among his allies in Congress, making passage of Ukraine aid in the GOP-controlled House difficult.

Pelosi added that it is “heartbreaking” that the aid has been held up for months and pointed to the former president’s influence as a possible reason.

“What happened in the Congress in the United States is heartbreaking. It’s sad,” Pelosi said, noting names of GOP lawmakers who have noted the influence of Russian propaganda on the Republican caucus, including House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (Ohio) and Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (Texas).

Turner and McCaul earlier this month expressed concern about the reach of Russian propaganda within the conference. Turner said, “We see, directly coming from Russia, attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor.”

In response to those concerns, Pelosi said, “That’s an indication of their candidate for president of the United States.”

“As I’ve always said, with him, all roads lead to Putin,” she added, referring to Trump.

Pelosi’s interview came just as Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) unveiled the legislative text for three bills that would combine military assistance to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Indo-Pacific with humanitarian aid for Gaza and other global hot spots — a high-stakes moment for the Speaker as he barrels into the politically prickly topic of sending aid overseas.

While Pelosi had not yet read the text of the bills, she said she was “fine” with Johnson’s plan of moving each bill individually through the House and then combining them before they are sent to the Senate.

“It’s really a tragedy that it has taken this long, but I’m so glad — I won’t say glad — but at long last, it has happened,” Pelosi said, stressing the urgency and stakes of getting more aid to Ukraine.

“Nothing less is at stake than our democracy,” she added, while underscoring the importance of Ukraine winning the war.

Johnson is facing a looming threat after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) put forward a motion to vacate the Speakership — though a timeline for bringing the resolution to a vote has not been offered.

Pelosi signaled the Democratic caucus would take their cue from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) to see if they would vote to save Johnson. She stressed, however, that the Speaker should be willing to lose his job for the sake of passing Ukraine aid.

“We come to Washington, come to Congress, to do a job, not to keep a job,” Pelosi said. “I wish the Speaker well.”

“If in fact, he is going to be at risk in his job so that we can save democracy in Ukraine, that’s — any one of us would make that trade,” she added.

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