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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reportedly interrupted a spirited dinner conversation with the president and nine male lawmakers on Wednesday evening with a question: “Do the women get to talk around here?”
The remark came after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asked the Democrats at the White House meeting what the president would gain from a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and border security, two people familiar with the conversation told The Washington Post.
As Pelosi attempted to respond that the deal would result in more Democratic support for other items on the White House, she was interrupted by her colleagues, all of whom were male, who began talking over her and one another, according to the report.
The group reportedly went silent after Pelosi’s interjection and did not interrupt her again.
The dinner may have resulted in a deal between the president and Democrats over a legislative version of DACA, which temporarily protects 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.
If the deal materializes, it would be the second bipartisan compromise shepherded by the president, Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in under a month, despite some conservative opposition.
Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs who also attended the dinner, denied that the exchange occured during an interview with MSNBC on Friday.
“I don’t recall that happening at all,” Short said, calling the conversation “very friendly and very jovial.” “In fact, we seated Nancy Pelosi right next to the president so her opinions could be heard.”
But Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammil, begged to differ, retweeting the MSNBC clip and writing, “full Pelosi quote: ‘Does anybody listen to women when they speak around here?’ Evidently, NO is the answer.”
full Pelosi quote: “Does anybody listen to women when they speak around here?” Evidently, NO is the answer. https://t.co/xWXYi8KtBD
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) September 15, 2017