Greenville, S.C. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump as “a very sad time for our country” while speaking to hundreds in South Carolina on Friday.
The Democratic Party fundraising event in downtown Greenville drew several hundred protesters outside the Hyatt Regency hotel where Pelosi spoke.
Here are a few key takeaways from her speech:
Pelosi talked about impeachment
Pelosi’s visit to South Carolina came as House Democrats lead an impeachment inquiry into Trump after an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint that alleged Trump solicited the president of Ukraine to go after his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
“Not any of us came to Congress to impeach a president,” Pelosi said. “This is a very sad time for our country. This is a very somber time for our country.”
Pelosi talked about how news of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky came on the anniversary the U.S. Constitution was signed.
“September 17 of this year, that very day, was the day that this explosion occurred and we found out about the telephone conversation, which is completely in defiance of the Constitution of the United States,” she said.
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She went on to say she had been waiting to have more facts before Democrats moved forward with an impeachment inquiry.
“Some people say, ‘Why are you doing this, he’s not worth it to divide the country this way,'” she said. “He might not be, but our Constitution is worth it, and our democracy is worth it.”
She shared thoughts about 2020
Pelosi talked about increasing voter turnout and candidate diversity going into 2020.
“How many times have people said to you, ‘This is the most important election of our time,'” she said. “Well, this is.”
She pointed to policy issues of health care costs, green infrastructure and government special interest money.
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“I think we can work with the Republicans to lower health care costs, lower prescription drug costs. I think we can work with them on building the infrastructure of America, at least I hope so. We’ve been having those conversations,” she said. “I’m not sure they’re interested in cleaner government. That’s a harder sell.”
Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party Trav Robertson said Democrats are hoping to have a stronger base in the Upstate part of South Carolina and party supporters are working to register more voters statewide.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn was also expected to speak, but the event ended without Clyburn taking the stage.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside before the event
The Rev. David Kennedy stood at the entrance to the Hyatt Regency shouting “Russians!” in the middle of hundreds of Republican and Trump supporters ahead of Friday evening’s Democratic event.
Joan Minihan, a Pickens native and Trump supporter, leaned over and asked, “Isn’t it great to live in America where you can stand on the corner and say this?”
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Kennedy laughed and hugged Minihan.
The rally was hosted by the Greenville and Spartanburg Republican parties. Trump supporters brought hand-painted signs, Trump 2020 flags and donned red “Make America Great Again” hats in advance of Pelosi’s appearance.
Nate Leupp, chairman of the Greenville County Republican Party, organized the event to showcase the “strength of the Republican Party” to Pelosi and the Democratic Party.
“She’s lost control of her caucus, she’s lost control of her party,” Leupp said.
By the time Leupp dismissed the crowd at 6:45 p.m., hundreds were gathered.
Leupp – who urged attendees to “go buy something (in Downtown Greenville) … we’re capitalists,” after the rally – said he counted as many as 800 Republicans outside the Hyatt.
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Trump supporters also talked impeachment outside
This article originally appeared on The Greenville News: Pelosi in South Carolina: Trump impeachment probe ‘a very sad time’
Many called for an end to the impeachment inquiry, including 15-year-old Gabriela Lawrence.
“I would ask (Pelosi) to stop the impeachment inquiry. I don’t think it’s right because our nation is already so divided,” Lawrence said.
Fred Roberts, a Piedmont Republican, said Pelosi needs to “get to work” instead of pursuing an impeachment trial.
“Congress has been brought to a standstill. We can’t get the trade agreements done, we can’t get any of our immigration issues solved, we can’t do healthcare all because she’s on this witch hunt,” he said.