While giving an interview to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, former US Speaker of the House and current US House Representative Nancy Pelosi of the Democratic Party made the claim that she didn’t think ‘Hungary should be in the EU now, but it’s harder to get them out once they’re in’.
The interview was published on the newspaper’s website on Monday, 6 November, along with an English translation, with the title ‘Nancy Pelosi: «Difending [sic!] Israel is personal. Biden like Kennedy: cooperation and respect»”.
The question which prompted Speaker Pelosi to share her opinion about Hungary’s EU membership was actually about Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy. She was asked about her comment of PM Meloni making ‘a good impression’ in Washington DC, as well as about ‘the Italian system’ and the foreign relations of Italian politicians. Pelosi replied that while she disagrees with PM Meloni on her stance on LGBTQ issues, she believes she ‘is doing ok,’ and that her support for Ukraine is ‘very, very important’. She then contrasted that with her view of Hungary—
the main contention of Speaker Pelosi’s with our country was its lack of support for Ukraine.
She did not elaborate on why that should be a requisite for EU membership, or by what process Hungary should be removed from the Union based on that. However, to be fair, this was a passing comment while answering an unrelated question, and she promptly got back to talking about Prime Minister Meloni.
However, it did catch the attention of Balázs Orbán, the political director for the Prime Minister of Hungary. He replied on the social media platform X (Twitter), writing: ‘Fortunately, in Hungary, it is the Hungarian people who decide and vote on their own future, and no one else has a say in this. Not even the Democrats.’
The 83-year-old Nancy Pelosi was first elected to Congress in a special election in 1987, representing California’s fifth district in the House. She has since represented three other districts of the Golden State—and she is still sitting in Congress now, as the congressperson for California’s 11th district currently. She was the 52nd Speaker of the House, serving in the role in two tenures, from 2007 to 2011, then from 2019 to 2023. She never served on any congressional committees.
Pelosi comes from a politically connected family. Her father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr, was also elected to the House of Representatives (D’Alesandro is Pelosi’s maiden name, she is of Italian descent).
Domestic politics has been the focus of most of her career. However, in August 2022, ahead of the midterm elections in the US, she visited Taiwan despite rising tensions between the de facto autonomous island and China to show her support for Taiwanese self-determination. Republican Newt Gingrich was the last US House Speaker to visit Taiwan prior, in 1997.