Pelosi shocked by Trump’s attack on Mass. DAs

Pressley, Clark back lawsuit to limit immigration arrests

US REPS. KATHERINE CLARK AND AYANNA PRESSLEY voiced support Friday for state prosecutors suing to block authorities from making immigration arrests at courthouses, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed shock at how President Donald Trump reacted to the situation.

Speaking after an event at Tufts University, Pelosi declined to comment on the suit brought by Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins seeking to bar Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from arresting undocumented immigrants who show up at state courthouses.

“ICE has an important role to play but it has to be done in a way that honors our values,” said Pelosi, who indicated she has not closely followed the dispute pitting state and federal law enforcement against one another.

Clark, a member of Pelosi’s leadership team, said she thinks ICE officers should be restricted in state courthouses and she supports the DA efforts.

“As the speaker said, ICE has an important role in our country, but we believe the courthouses need to be protected, and we’ve spoken to that, received assurances in the past, and it doesn’t seem to be the practice, so I think this is an important step to make sure that everyone – immigrants, citizens – can access the courts when they need to,” Clark said.

Pressley took a more critical view of federal immigration enforcement.

“ICE is a completely rogue agency at this point,” said Pressley.

The dispute between state and federal law enforcement caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who called into Boston Herald Radio on Wednesday and accused Rollins and Ryan of being uninterested in crime.

“These are people that probably don’t mind crime, they don’t mind what’s going on,” Trump said.

Both prosecutors lead offices that regularly level criminal charges against suspects, and Ryan herself was a victim of violent crime as a young prosecutor.

When Pelosi was first asked about Trump’s remarks, the president was slightly misquoted as saying the prosecutors “like crime,” and Pelosi was incredulous, asking whether he had actually said that. When told the correct quote, Pelosi said it was essentially the “same thing.”

Pressley said Trump’s remark was in keeping with a hostile attitude toward immigrants. The president has focused his ire on immigrants who are in the country illegally and subject to deportation whom he regularly misleadingly conflates with violent criminals.

“It’s consistent with his criminalizing and vilifying of immigrants, to me another demonstration of why he’s unfit to serve, and I support these district attorneys,” Pressley said. “They know the fear that so many are living in, and I support what they’ve done.”

The congressional districts represented by Clark and Pressley overlap with Ryan’s and Rollins’s jurisdiction.

“We can have secure communities and we can have secure access to our justice system. That’s what our DAs are fighting for, and we stand with them,” Clark said.

The speaker’s comments to the news media occurred after a forum at Tufts in Medford about the importance of early education where Pelosi, Clark, Pressley, and Congresswoman Lori Trahan were all participants.

Amid the questioning, someone handed Pelosi a three-month old baby from Watertown, and she continued fielding questions while holding the child in her arms, sometimes rocking or swaying.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

During the availability, Pelosi was asked again whether she thought Trump should be impeached.

“There are some who think that we should have been impeaching a year and a half ago, two years ago,” Pelosi said. “Impeachment is one of the most divisive and dividing paths that you can take and if you go down that path, you have to have a prospect for success, and I do think that the path of investigation and getting more information – and you never know, that one thing can lead to another. Impeachment is never off the table, but should we start there? I don’t agree with that.”