WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday morning promoted a photoshopped image of Sen. Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi wearing a turban and a head scarf in front of an Iranian flag, claiming it showed “the corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue #NancyPelosiFakeNews.”
The retweeted image was the most extreme version of a sentiment that Trump spent the morning advancing by retweeting criticism of Pelosi, who said the killing risked a “dangerous escalation of violence” and was based on questionable intelligence, with the president trying to suggest she was a supporter of the Iranian government.
The president’s barrage of Twitter posts targeting her appeared to be an attempt to undercut her credibility the same week she is expected to send two articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate. The tweet was also a reminder of the way Trump has harnessed fears of Muslims and terrorism for his own political purposes in the past.
Responding on Twitter, Schumer asked, “President Trump: How low can you go?”
Trump and the Republican National Committee specifically targeted Pelosi for a statement she made on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, when asked whether she supported anti-government demonstrations there that have emerged after Iran shot down of a Ukrainian airliner shortly after it took off from Tehran.
Pelosi said there were “different reasons why people are in the street,” noting that the current protesters were reacting to Iran’s military admitting it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner. She did not directly answer a question about whether it would be a “good thing if they brought the regime down.”
During Pelosi’s interview with George Stephanopoulos, she also said that the Trump administration had not been “straight with the Congress of the United States” in its explanations for why it decided to target Gen. Qassem Soleimani when it did.
Trump spent the weekend expressing support online for the people of Iran calling for political and economic change, who participated in the largest popular protests in the country in more than 10 years.
On Monday morning, Trump lauded the protesters for supporting the United States. “Wow! The wonderful Iranian protesters refused to step on, or in any way denigrate, our Great American Flag,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “It was put on the street in order for them to trample it, and they walked around it instead. Big progress!”
A spokesman for Pelosi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.