Republicans Are Now Criticizing Biden For Calling Speaker Pelosi “Nance”

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Lydia Wang
·3 min read
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U.S. President Joe Biden, center, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, wear protective masks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. The Senate voted 51-50 to adopt a budget blueprint for Biden’s $1.9 trillion virus relief package following nearly 15 hours of wading through amendments from both parties. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Joe Biden, center, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, wear protective masks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. The Senate voted 51-50 to adopt a budget blueprint for Biden’s $1.9 trillion virus relief package following nearly 15 hours of wading through amendments from both parties. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lately, the GOP has had a lot of pressing issues to complain about: Dr. Seuss, Potato Head, and now, President Joe Biden’s choice nickname for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. During Wednesday’s House Democratic Caucus Virtual Issues Conference, Biden innocuously asked “Nance” whether he should take questions, and now, Republicans are up in arms, which has raised questions about whether they understand what a meeting is or how nicknames work.

“Nance” began trending on Twitter shortly after a video of Biden’s comments went viral, even though many have pointed out that Biden has known Pelosi for decades so it’s not particularly surprising that he would call her a shortened version of her name. To make matters even more nonsensical, this outrage is coming from the very same people who mocked and disrespected Dr. Jill Biden’s title and supported a former president about whom there exists an entire Wikipedia page devoted to derogatory nicknames he has given everyone from Biden to Elizabeth Warren to Ted Cruz.

And then things became even more convoluted. Some began to theorize that Pelosi is controlling Biden because he casually said, “I’m happy to take questions…Nance, whatever you want me to do.” Others said the White House shut down the feed as Biden tried to answer questions. The latter likely stems from the fair criticism Biden has faced from both sides of the aisle for taking longer than usual to hold a formal press conference. (“We look forward to holding a full formal press conference, but in the meantime the president takes questions from the reporters covering the White House regularly, including this morning,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN this week.)

That said, Wednesday’s event was not a press conference; it was a meeting led by Pelosi, so it makes sense that he would ask if she’d like for him to answer questions. Republicans were also furious that Biden’s microphone cut out at the end of the livestream, but he reportedly did answer questions off-camera, which is not out of the ordinary for meetings like this one. As reporter Dave Weigel noted on Twitter, Fox News ran a story about Biden refusing to answer questions from House Democrats at the event along with a story about a question he answered the same night.

The video allegedly shows proof that Pelosi is preventing Biden from speaking and controlling the questions he receives, but as usual, it went viral without context. There is nothing inherently sinister about the President asking the House Speaker a question about the proceedings of an event. And, of course, “Nance” is a normal nickname — the same cannot be said for Donald Trump’s “Crazy Nancy” moniker.

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