One-on-One: Scalise responds to criticism over comments about Pelosi’s Jan. 6 actions

Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 7:14 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) visited the Fox 8 studio Friday (Oct. 28) and responded to accusations that he was untruthful when he criticized the actions of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) during the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Scalise sparked controversy when he joined fellow Republicans questioning whether Pelosi sought National Guard help when lawmakers were huddled for safety during the insurrection. A video taken by Pelosi’s daughter, recently released by the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, showed Scalise was within earshot when Pelosi was calling for help in a huddle with both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders.

Pelosi could be heard pleading for help from the National Guard.

“Well, just pretend -- just pretend for a moment -- that it was the Pentagon or the White House or some other entity that was under siege,” Pelosi said on the call. “And say you can logistically get people there as you make the plan.”

At a GOP leadership press conference in June, Scalise immediately backed Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), when the colleague questioned whether Pelosi dragged her feet in calling for National Guard help during the riot.

“Was Speaker Pelosi involved in the decision to delay National Guard assistance on January 6th? Those are serious and real questions that this committee refuses to even ask,” said Banks. “Speaker Pelosi doesn’t want to answer those questions because she knows that the answers to those questions leave a trail of breadcrumbs right back to her office underscoring her negligence, her lack of leadership as the Speaker of the House.”

Scalise spoke after Banks.

“Jim Banks just raised some very serious questions that should be answered by the January 6th Commission, but they’re not. And they’re not for a very specific reason. And that’s because Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want those questions to be answered,” Scalise told reporters.

After the video surfaced, critics accused Scalise of lying or being hypocritical when he joined in questioning Pelosi’s actions. In his interview Friday at Fox 8, Scalise defended his statements.

“What I would say to them is, ’Go watch the full video,’” he said. “And isn’t it interesting that they heavily edited that video to try to make it look like it was deceptive?”

“There were seven different questions that Jim Banks asked and all those questions that he asked were things that happened prior to January 6th and I by the way raised those multiple times and there’s video of that too where I asked not about the day of January 6th but about things before January 6th, why wasn’t the Capitol prepared?

“Was she (Pelosi) in a position to have turned down National Guard prior to? And so they juxtaposed things that happened on Jan. 6 and tried to make it look like the same. And, unfortunately, that happens a lot in Washington.”

Scalise was asked if he rejects suggestions that Pelosi did not try to get the National Guard to respond to the riot at the Capitol.

“During the riot, she was -- as we all were -- trying to get the Capitol back under control and get back to work that day,” he said. “I was very vocal there and (in) a number of settings, not just with Nancy Pelosi, but (Republican Senate Majority) Leader McConnell, who was also in that room, about what we can do to get back into the Capitol so we could finish our work. But there were very serious questions raised about things that did or didn’t happen prior to Jan. 6 that may have fallen on Speaker Pelosi’s desk. She hasn’t answered those questions.”

Scalise offered support for Pelosi, whose husband Paul was brutally attacked early Friday by an intruder in their home in San Francisco. The attacker allegedly was yelling, “Where’s Nancy.”

“It’s very disturbing and surely I have a lot of security questions but also, you know, I reached out to Speaker Pelosi earlier today to express my thoughts and prayers and concerns about Paul and hopefully Paul is going to get out of this okay,” said Scalise. “But, you know, it’s just alarming when you see any kind of violence, whether it’s political violence or not, you know, it’s a sad state of affairs where we are today.”

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