WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that a photo of her appearing to upbraid President Donald Trump was taken as she told him his recent actions are benefiting Russia.
“At that moment, I was probably saying `All roads lead to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,'” Pelosi said about the photo that was widely circulated after she walked out of a White House meeting with Trump Wednesday.
Trump tweeted out the photo, which shows Pelosi standing up and pointing her finger at Trump as he, other members of the administration and members of Congress remain seated around an oval table in the Cabinet Room.
“Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!?” Trump tweeted.
But Pelosi quickly made the image the cover photo for her Twitter profile as Democrats suggested that she had gotten the better of him.
“This picture: a strong, calm, confident woman standing up to Trump, is iconic,” tweeted Paul Begala, who worked for President Bill Clinton.
The White House meeting came soon after the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution condemning Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, all but clearing the way for Turkey to invade territory held by the U.S.-allied Kurds.
Pelosi said she told Trump that Russia has been trying to get a foothold in the Middle East and his troop withdrawal gives them an opening as Kurds reach out to Russians for support.
Putin also benefited when Trump placed doubts at the beginning of his administration on the U.S.’s commitment to NATO, she said.
And Pelosi said she told Trump that any withholding of U.S. assistance to Ukraine helps Russia, which invaded its neighboring country in 2014.
The impeachment inquiry Pelosi launched last month centers on whether military aid to Ukraine was delayed by Trump to encourage Ukraine’s newly-elected leader to investigate Joe Biden and a conspiracy theory involving interference in the 2016 election.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.