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CNBC's Jim Cramer calls Pelosi 'Crazy Nancy' to her face in live interview

Felicia Sonmez

By Felicia Sonmez The Washington Post

Published Sept. 16, 2020

CNBC host Jim Cramer addressed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as "Crazy Nancy" during a TV interview Tuesday morning, then sent several tweets in which he defended his actions before apologizing for using the phrase, which is also employed frequently by President Donald Trump.

Pelosi, D-Calif., was on CNBC on Tuesday morning to discuss the negotiations over a new round of coronavirus relief legislation. At one point in the interview, Cramer questioned Pelosi about a CNN interview days earlier in which she had said she was optimistic about the likelihood of a deal as talks between Trump administration officials and congressional Democrats remain stalled.

"Really?" Cramer said. "I mean, I thought I'd take it right off the table right this very minute. You've got (White House Chief of Staff) Mark Meadow[s] going and saying he was the skunk at the party. He didn't really - you know, he's gotten in the way between you and, I think, [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin. I mean, what deal can we have, Crazy Nancy?"

He then quickly added: "I'm sorry, I - that was the president. I have such reverence for the office, I would never use that term."

"But you just did," Pelosi said with a laugh. "But you just did."

Cramer responded by telling Pelosi, "Oh, come on. You know what I mean," to which the speaker replied, "I know what you meant. I do. I do."

"The reverence I have for the office is so great that I think it's a travesty to ever call-" Cramer said, trailing off. "Look, you're, you've spent your whole life in public service."

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As the interview continued, Pelosi gave the response she often gives to the president's attacks on her, telling Cramer, "Anything the president says is a projection of his own insecurities."

Later Tuesday, after several tweets defending his actions, Cramer apologized on his show "Mad Money."

"I made a very stupid comment," he said. "It was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to make a point about the harsh tone of the negotiations in Washington. But it fell completely flat and I apologize for that. . . . I have an incredible amount of respect for both the speaker and the office she holds."

During the day, Cramer defended his actions in 10 tweets and retweets in which he variously claimed that Trump's use of the phrase "disgusts" him, argued that his point was that "there can't be a deal with a president who calls the Speaker crazy" and fired back at his critics, daring one of them to "go call for my firing."

In one tweet, Cramer compared himself to Trump, writing, "you know what i love? the president goes unchecked, calls her Crazy forever. I call it as horrible and i am called out for doing so here. What a travesty..."

Pelosi's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cramer's tweets about the interview.

Time's Up, an organization that advocates for harassment-free workplaces for women, denounced the host's use of the phrase.

"Whether @JimCramer meant to insult Nancy Pelosi or simply refer to Trump's disparaging attacks, the harmful effects are the same," the organization said in a tweet. "We're calling on journalists to stop circulating sexist labels that betray women's skills, insights, & lived experiences as leaders."

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