Fact check: 2017 video shows Nancy Pelosi talking about Republicans using ‘wrap-up smear’ tactic

Social media users have been sharing a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talking about a “wrap-up smear” tactic and claiming that this is proof she or other Democrats used this tactic. The video has been misleadingly cropped to exclude Pelosi saying she blames Republicans for using this tactic.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks after Senate Republicans unveiled their version of legislation that would replace Obamacare on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Examples can be seen here , here and here .

One video’s description (here), reads: “The Speaker of the House details how she and fellow Democrats use a technique called, 'Wrap Up Smear' to demonize rivals.”

The video is from a weekly briefing that Pelosi held on June 22, 2017 while she was house minority leader. The full video can be seen on C-SPAN here .

While discussing negative television advertising against her, Pelosi is asked at the 25:55 mark by a reporter whether it is “worth it to try to rehab(ilitate) your image in some of these Republican districts” as an effort to change people’s image of her.

Pelosi responds that she has been told she should spend money to show off her accomplishments but she wants other representatives to present themselves instead. She says that “at the end of the day, that’s what people are interested in, their representative, and what their representative is going to do for their district.”

Pelosi continues: “The Republicans are afraid of that contrast in a race. Because they’re going to go there to be involved in trickled down economics, shutting down hospitals and the rest of it. So, they don’t want them [constituents] to see that contrast, so they focus on something else.”

At timestamp 26:51, she continues: “And it’s a diversionary tactic. It’s a self-fulfilling proph(ecy). You demonize - we call it the wrap-up smear. If you want to talk politics. We call it the wrap-up smear. You smear somebody with falsehoods and all the rest and then you merchandise it and then you write it and they’ll say, see, it’s reported in the press that this, this, this and this, so they have that validation that the press reported the smear and then it’s called a wrap-up smear. Now I am going to merchandise the press’ report on the smear that we made. It’s a tactic.”

Pelosi is speaking about a distraction tactic that she attributes to Republicans. She doesn’t say that this tactic is used by Democrats nor does she confess to treason, as the social media posts claim.

The out-of-context video was also debunked by and Snopes in 2018, when it circulated around the time of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearings ( here , here ).


False. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not say that she or Democrats use the “wrap-up smear” tactic in a press briefing.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .