Trump victory ‘can’t happen, won’t happen’, Nancy Pelosi tells journalists during Dublin visit

Former speaker of US House of Representatives said she was ‘very excited’ about ‘long overdue’ restoration of Northern Ireland executive

The re-election of Donald Trump as president of the United States “can’t happen, and it won’t happen”, said former speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who is on a visit to Dublin.

Ms Pelosi, who has been one of the most powerful politicians in the US Congress for more than 20 years, including two terms as speaker of the House, warned repeatedly about the dangers of a second Trump term during a series of engagements in Dublin, including a round-table interview with journalists at the US ambassador’s residence in the Phoenix Park on Monday morning.

She described a potential Trump victory in November’s presidential election as an “unthinkable result”, saying that it would threaten “civilisation as we know it”.

“Democracy is on the ballot in our country,” she said.


“This is our Washington Crossing the Delaware; it’s about making a decision to save our democracy,” Ms Pelosi said, invoking a landmark victory for revolutionary forces during the American War of Independence, later immortalised in a famous painting.

“I’ve never seen a situation as challenging as this in the United States,” Ms Pelosi said.

“The invasion of the Capitol on January 6th was an assault on our constitution ... an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”

She does not name her arch-enemy, but is scathing about his “disregard for our constitution, our Congress and our Capitol”.

“We see now disregard for the courts, endangering people who might be jurors, by having his mouthpieces in the media going out there and putting out descriptions of these people, endangering them and their families.

“We go around the world telling people that an independent judiciary is central to democracy – except if you happen to be, or profess to be, immune to the law,” she said.

“You see in the Congress of the United States a Putin clique – don’t take it from me – the chair of the intelligence committee, a Republican, the chair of the foreign affairs committee, of course a Republican, saying that Russian propaganda has infiltrated the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.”

Ms Pelosi is in Dublin to receive the Fulbright Commission’s public service award and also an award in memory of former attorney general Peter Sutherland at UCD.

On other issues, Ms Pelosi said she was “very excited about the restoration of the executive in Northern Ireland”, adding it was “long overdue, long overdue”.

Asked about her attitude to a united Ireland, she was cautious.

“As a schoolgirl in America I would have thought that’s a great idea, and why not do that, so I carried that with me ... but that path, what’s important is how you arrive at it. I think it’s an exciting idea, but again, it’s up to the Irish to decide that.”

Ms Pelosi agreed that abuse and antagonism towards politicians on social media was a growing problem, and condemned “violent rhetoric”.

Which brought her back to a familiar theme.

“So we have to pull ourselves back from this path we have gone on that has been normalising violent behaviour and rhetoric, a president who would say, ‘If you beat up the reporters I’ll pay for your lawyers’ – what’s that? That’s not right. It’s not right and it certainly has no place in a democracy. So we have to tone down the rhetoric, period.”

She said that the “negativity” of many Republicans was a campaigning strength for them. “You know, they don’t like women, they don’t like gays, they don’t like newcomers, they don’t like LGBTQ, whatever it is ...”

“As I say to our members all the time, you know what is at stake, you know how awful they are. But that’s not our message; our message is about how we can unify America, making the distinction as to what it means at the kitchen table of those families.”

She reiterated the importance of the politics of the “kitchen table” – the bread-and-butter concerns of voters.

“It’s important that people know their kitchen table needs are being met by the Democratic Party.”

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times