South Carolina

‘Sad time for our country’: Nancy Pelosi talks Trump impeachment inquiry in SC

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a room full of South Carolina Democrats Friday night that she believes Democrats and Republicans in Washington can work together to cut rising health care costs and solve the country’s infrastructure woes.

“We have been legislating,” she said, noting U.S. House bills backed by Democrats. “Unfortunately, we’ve also had to be investigating.”

Pelosi’s appearance as the featured speaker at the S.C. Democratic Party’s fundraiser comes as details continue to emerge about President Donald Trump and his request of the Ukrainian president to investigate 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

That request, at the heart of the impeachment process that Pelosi launched Sept. 24, has roiled an already divided country.

It’s a “sad time for our country,” Pelosi said Friday night in Greenville, located in arguably the state’s most conservative region.

Not one Democrat ran for Congress to impeach the president, she said.

“This is about the constitution of the United States,” Pelosi said. “A system of checks and balances. That is what our democracy is about.”

As to whether the U.S. House will ultimately impeach Trump, Pelosi said, “When we have more facts, we will be ready.”

One man loudly exclaimed in the Hyatt Regency ballroom, “We’re ready.”

President Donald Trump supporters Lisa Murray, left, and Myrtle Cox of Taylors, S.C., protest outside the Hyatt Regency, where U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at a S.C. Democratic Party fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, Maayan Schechter

Pelosi protesters

Outside the Hyatt, the tone was different.

Several hundred Trump supporters wearing Make America Great Again hats and carrying pro-Trump banners and handmade signs lined both sides of the street. Some drivers honked their horns and gave a thumbs up in support.

Others shouted support for Democrats.

Joan Boyce, 65, of Greenville, was among the Trump supporters who showed up hours ahead of the dinner. She wore a MAGA hat and carried signs that called to impeach Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. She called the impeachment inquiry a “total sham.”

“She’s not doing anything for the American people,” Boyce said. “And this impeachment that she’s trying to push, it’s ridiculous. The country doesn’t want impeachment. All it’s doing is make people fight against each other and that’s all she’s accomplishing.”

Other Trump supporters expressed the same.

“As (U.S.) Sen. Lindsey Graham says, a whole lot of a big nothing burger,” said Nate Leupp, 39, chairman of the Greenville County GOP.

“I think in the end it’s going to backfire on the Democrats.”

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Maayan Schechter (My-yahn Schek-ter) covers the S.C. State House and politics for The State. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She has previously worked at the Aiken Standard and the Greenville News.