May 19th, 2009
06:27 PM ET
9 years ago

Hoyer says he backs Pelosi

Steny Hoyer is standing behind his colleague, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Steny Hoyer is standing behind his colleague, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Seeking to put an end to questions about what Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about waterboarding and demonstrate he is standing behind her, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday strongly defended the speaker.

"I want to be very clear because I think there's been some misinterpretation of my views. ... I believe the speaker," Hoyer told reporters. "I believe the speaker when she says she was not specifically briefed on the types of - in very polite terms - enhanced interrogation techniques that were being employed."

Last week Hoyer had to clarify comments he made that seemed to suggest he supported an investigation into what Pelosi knew about waterboarding. He insisted he was talking only about a probe focused on former Bush administration officials who authorized the harsh interrogation methods.

A former leadership rival of Pelosi, Hoyer blamed Republicans for the continued focus on the speaker, saying, "It continues to be a Republican tactic to distract the public from focusing on what was done, what the justification for doing it was, and for ... President Bush's comment that we don't torture."

Pressed further on how the speaker could put the issue behind her, the majority leader tried to turn the tables on the press. "Republicans are going to stay on it as long as you guys keep printing it, as long as it continues to be a television item - not about the substance, but about the distraction," he said. "As long as you want to feed on it, the Republicans will continue to feed you."

Hoyer characterized the speaker's support among House Democrats as "solid" and said not a single member has raised the issue with him on the House floor or in meetings.

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Of course you do. Because your just like her. She was told and didn't care until now and she is trying to deny it. I personally think waterboarding saved countless lives, shoot 3 pirates to save one American life and NOT use EIT to save thousands? Whats wrong with this country!

    May 19, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. rachae

    I am really surprised why everyone is focusing on what Nancy new. She wasn't in charge and couldn't change anything if she did. Bush was the president and he more than new it, he constucted it. So put the blame where it belongs with Bush.

    May 19, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. JLS

    Whew!!! I feel awhole lot better knowing that "Steny" believes Nancy, don't you?? What a bunch of dopes!!

    May 19, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Tortured logic

    What a tangled web we weave when first we practice revenge...

    May 19, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. No Incumbents 2010

    Pelosi didn't authorize or order the use of torture. These illegal acts were committed by Bush officials. Repukes accuse Pelosi of knowing about techniques which they claim were legitimate. This is only a story because the media is pandering to Repukes.

    May 19, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. annie for Palin

    There goes hoyer's job. Somebody must not have gave him the secret message that obama is trying to get rid of pelosi. Not that she doesn't deserve it but he shouldn't be so underhanded.

    May 19, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Same Old White House

    of course you do. She is in the same party/

    May 19, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. barking republican ankle biters

    Bush and Cheney lied and should be hung as traitors and war criminals,along with all their supporters.

    May 19, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  9. Rufus

    Would anyone expect a different statement from a democrat? Birds of a feather all stand together!

    May 19, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. skyhawkdriver

    How much you wanna bet hoyer and pelosi are doing the wild thing on that tax payer funded flight back and forth to cali every weekend..why else would he support her..unless he's a stockholder in the botox company she uses

    May 19, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. alvino

    More and more information on incorrect (misleading) statements from the Bush CIA are coming out. Maybe Pelosi is correct in her recollections. It is a good attempt at diversion, by the GOP, to point fingers at others to try to avoid their own blame in using torture.

    This will eventually come back and bite the repubs in the butt. Those who are responsible are the ones who should do the time.

    May 19, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Ridgeway

    Ya, think. Focus on issues not on us. You creeps did that crap for 8 years to Bush. Sucks, doesn't it. Losers.

    May 19, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. Cynthia - Arkansas

    When are the Republicans going to realize that they have dug a big hole for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and the rest.

    Saying that Nancy Pelosi "knew" about anything doesn't change the facts. The CIA now says they can't really be sure of what happened and who was told what. Did the media report that? I think it's pretty important information!

    May 19, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. ray ray

    Great... both the Speaker of the House and her subordinate BOTH suggest the CIA lied.


    Either Nancy is lying or the CIA is lying. Let's get to the bottom of this!

    May 19, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. Casey

    This is all a tempest in a tea cup blown up by The Party of No, looking for something – anything – to draw attention away from the past 8 years and their torture policies. The more they spout their rubbish and use their typical tactics of fear, the more Americans everywhere will begin to call for their prosecution.

    It's about the TORTURE - not who maybe heard what in Congress. It's about changing the name of torture to "enhanced interrogation techniques" and thinking up ways to justify TORTURE.

    Dick Cheney and his minions would do well to remember that. Let's prosecute the actual war criminals first, OK?

    May 19, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. Tc

    where is Nancy"s smile NOW... Guilty no matter how you look at it. She is a liar and needs to admit it and stop blaming others!!!!

    May 19, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. Aspen Professor

    ""It continues to be a Republican tactic to distract the public" ... Boy does Hoyer have that right!!!!

    Since the Repubs have NO ideas other than to say NO and distract the public, they stay their course toward the toilet of history. It is sad, as a registered Republican, to watch.

    Leadership in my(?) Party is sorely lacking, ideas are sorely lacking, creativity is sorely lacking, and what is left is right-wing extremism of the worse kind. Their blind followers now represent about 20% of Americans. Someone ought to tell them that the world is NOT flat.

    May 19, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Claudia in Houson

    A seeing eye dog would know all along this is about the Republicans attempt to distract Americans from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who are the masterminds behind torture. Newt Gingrich was seizing the opportunity the strike down Nancy Pelosi because of his own doings that ultimately led to him stepping down as speaker of the house, didn't work and looks like Republicans are distancing themselves from Newt.

    May 19, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. barry

    Before investigating weather nanci pelosi was briefted or not.why don't you just panish those who autorise the torture.

    May 19, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. jaye

    Everybody should be more worried about TORTURE and not what Pelosi knew..... good grief, people... stop being sidelined by the republicans!!
    The republicans tortured people – Pelosi didn't torture anybody. Period!!!
    First republicans led us into a war based on lies, then they tortured people, then they nearly bankrupted our country and destroyed our economy. AND, 911 happened on their watch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Stop nit-picking Pelosi and start blaming the republicans for the mess they got our country into.

    May 19, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. Alfred E. Neumann

    Hoyer backs Pelosi – here's a quarter, call somebody who cares!

    May 19, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Allen in Hartwell GA

    The Republicans' newest excuse for past wrongs is that the Democrats knew that Bush and the Republican-led Congress were making mistakes but did nothing about it. Therefore it is all the fault of the Democrats.
    Makes sense to me!?!?

    May 19, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  23. Deb

    No Hoyer, we are calling out Pelosi because she, and the other Congressional leaders knew and approved of the necessary harsh interrogation methods, and rightly so, in the months after 9-11, as we were ALL frightened of what was planned next by Al Q.
    And now we are livid that the Dems began to feign ignorance and point fingers and threaten "truth commisions" at the previous executive branch for crass political gain, during a time of profound national security fears. You folks are sanctimonious hypocrites.

    May 19, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. Skip, a black man

    Ok great....we will just move on then!

    May 19, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. jaye

    Republicans tortured numerous people and now they're trying to make a stink of what Pelosi said.....who cares what she said, she didn't order the torture....the republicans ordered and carried out the torture.
    Wise up people and stop being led astray by the republicans and their spin machine.

    May 19, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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