In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the former House speaker said demonstrators calling for a cease-fire in Gaza hews to “Mr. Putin’s message.”
“Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see. Same thing with Ukraine,” Pelosi said. “It’s about Putin’s message. I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia.”
Asked by host Dana Bash whether she thought some of the activists were “Russian plants,” Pelosi replied: “Seeds or plants. I think some financing should be investigated. And I want to ask the F.B.I. to investigate that.”
Nancy Pelosi suggests that some of the anti-Israel protests we have seen in the country in recent months are supported and financed by Russia pic.twitter.com/KJXtHodxqQ
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) January 28, 2024
Pelosi may be the first U.S. politician to publicly theorize that Russia may be backing the protests to create a rift among Democrats, The New York Times wrote.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations slammed Pelosi’s remarks as “delusional.”
Nihad Awad, the executive director of the group, said in a statement to HuffPost, “Instead of baselessly smearing those Americans as Russian collaborators, former House Speaker Pelosi and other political leaders should respect the will of the American people by calling for an end to the Netanyahu government’s genocidal war on the people of Gaza.”
Protests demanding a cease-fire amid Israel’s prolonged counteroffensive in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel have erupted around the country, also interruptingspeeches by President Joe Biden and Pelosi.
In a statement to the Times that noted Pelosi’s desire to stop “the suffering in Gaza,” a Pelosi spokesperson said: “Speaker Pelosi has always supported and defended the right of all Americans to make their views known through peaceful protest. Speaker Pelosi is acutely aware of how foreign adversaries meddle in American politics to sow division and impact our elections, and she wants to see further investigation ahead of the 2024 election.”