When a reporter asked Nancy Pelosi on Thursday if she hates President Donald Trump, the Democratic House speaker responded with choice words: "Don't mess with me."
Pelosi had just wrapped up her second press appearance of the day, during which she answered questions about her earlier announcement directing Democratic House committee chairmen to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.
As she started walking away from the podium, James Rosen, a former Fox News reporter who now works for the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group, asked: "Do you hate the president?"
Pelosi, pointing a finger at Rosen, snapped back: "I don't hate anybody."
"I was raised in a Catholic house. We don't hate anyone, not anybody in the world," Pelosi said. "So don't you accuse me —"
"I did not accuse you. I asked you a question," Rosen responded. He said his question was based on Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Doug Collins' suggestion a day earlier that Democrats were impeaching Trump merely because "they don't like the guy."
After the testy exchange with Rosen, Pelosi returned to the podium.
"I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids, who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our Dreamers, of which we're very proud. I think he's in denial about the climate crisis," she began.
"However, that's about the election. This is about the — take it up in the election," she said. The impeachment inquiry, however, "is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that leads to the president's violation of his oath of office," Pelosi said.
"And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time," she said.
"So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that," Pelosi added, and walked out of the room.
Trump weighed in on Twitter minutes later.
"Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit," the president said, claiming she "hates" the successes he has had.
"She says she 'prays for the President.' I don't believe her, not even close," Trump added.
House Democrats are in the midst of an inquiry into whether Trump abused his power by withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for that country announcing investigations for his own political benefit and at the expense of U.S. interests.
"Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders, and our heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with the articles of impeachment," Pelosi said at her first appearance of the day.