Jeanine Pirro (Getty/Mike Theiler)

Fox's Judge Pirro retracts the false claim about Nancy Pelosi spread during her interview with Trump

Pirro blamed "numerous reports" for the error on her Fox News show. (It's unclear which reports she's referring to)


Shira Tarlo
January 14, 2019 5:18PM (UTC)

Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro admitted on Sunday that she had spread misinformation about newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during her "exclusive" interview with President Donald Trump, which aired one day prior. Pirro blamed "numerous reports," which she did not name, for the error made on her broadcast.

"During my exclusive interview with Pres Trump I said Speaker Pelosi was in Puerto Rico with a bunch of her Democrat colleagues," Pirro wrote on Twitter. "I based that on numerous reports that turned out to be wrong. The Speaker’s office says she has been in DC all weekend and I take them at their word."

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The mistake related to news that members of Congress and lobbyists would visit Puerto Rico for the opening night of "Hamilton," the Broadway sensation that debuted on the island Friday, in an effort to raise money for the U.S. territory as it continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, the catastrophic storm which tore through the island in September 2017.

Speaking with Trump about the budget impasse over border wall funding, which has resulted in a partial government shutdown that is now the longest in U.S. history, Pirro suggested that Pelosi was attempting to blowing off her in Washington to party in Puerto Rico.

"Nancy Pelosi's in Hawaii over the holidays," Pirro said. "Now she's in Puerto Rico with a bunch of Democrats and lobbyists enjoying the sun and partying down there."

It is unclear which reports Pirro was citing in her correction tweet, as many articles on the event noted that Pelosi was expected to attend the performance — but not that she would definitively go.

Pelosi remains a strong opponent of Trump's continuing demands for more than $5 billion to fund a 2,000-mile border wall along the U.S. Mexico border, which she has called "immoral, ineffective and expensive." Last week, Trump abruptly walked out of a closed-door meeting with congressional Democrats in the White House, blasting the negotiations as a "waste of time," after Pelosi said she would not fund his border wall — even if he ended the government shutdown.

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"Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time," the president tweeted at the time. "I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"

Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency to fund the wall if Democrats do not budge, although he repeatedly promised during the 2016 presidential campaign that Mexico would pay for his wall — and dozens more times since he took office. He also put it in writing, in a March 2016 memo, that was shared with news outlets and on his campaign website. The memo proposed threatening to block remittances being sent from Mexican nationals in the U.S. back to Mexico, which the campaign claimed amounted to $24 billion a year, if Mexico did not "make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion" for the wall.

For now, the government shutdown appears to have no end in sight — and hundreds of thousands of federal workers have had to look for other jobs as they face the reality of missing paychecks and the influence that will have on their lives.

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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