Pelosi Excoriated for ‘Backwards’ Claim That Trump Must ‘Prove Innocence’

Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was eviscerated on social media after claiming Thursday that former President Donald Trump has a “right” to “prove innocence” following news that a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict him.

Pelosi, a former House speaker, appeared to have flipped a central principle of the U.S. justice system by stating that those who have been accused of crimes have “the right to a trial to prove innocence” and that Trump, too, has “that right.”

“The Grand Jury has acted upon the facts and the law,” Pelosi wrote on Twitter. “No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence. Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right.”

The California Democrat was immediately hit with a barrage of criticism about her statement, including from numerous prominent politicians and figures.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), whose extensive work as an attorney included arguing cases before the Supreme Court, called Pelosi’s comment “backwards” and said she had made a “mockery of our justice system”:

House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) observed of Pelosi’s remark that “that’s not how it works in this country”:

House Republican Conference chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) issued a statement blasting Pelosi as a “radical authoritarian” whose reaction to Trump’s indictment was “deeply offensive”:

A fellow former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, noted Pelosi had “turned the American system upside down”:

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), who previously practiced law in Minnesota, assessed that Pelosi “is not familiar with the cardinal rule of our justice system: ‘Innocent UNTIL proven guilty'”:

Tom Fitton, president of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, viewed Pelosi’s remark as confirmation of “malicious political prosecution” by the Manhattan district attorney:

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy characterized Pelosi’s comment as a “Freudian slip” rather than an “innocent mistake”:

Pelosi also attracted attention from abroad. Nigel Farage, a former leader of the U.K. Independence Party who spearheaded Brexit, declared that Pelosi was “wrong!” adding, “In free countries that’s not how it works”:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), one of Trump’s most fervent supporters in Congress, shared Pelosi’s tweet, exclaiming, “Two-tiered Justice System!”:

Lee Zeldin, who ran for governor of New York on the promise to fight crime and fire the Manhattan district attorney, also chimed in on Pelosi, calling her “dead wrong”:

While Pelosi has not retracted her statement, Twitter attached a “context” note to her tweet Friday morning, saying the former speaker was mistaken to invert the justice system and citing Cornell Law School’s legal encyclopedia.

The tweet had garnered nearly 14 million views and 45,000 comments at the time of this publishing.

Write to Ashley Oliver at Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.


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