Donald Trump Says Pelosi Shouldn't Trade Stocks, as Joe Biden Leaves Debate up to Congress

Former President Donald Trump said this week that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should not be allowed to trade individual stocks, joining an ongoing debate as to whether or not congressional lawmakers should be given such privileges.

"She has inside information. It's not right. It's not appropriate," Trump told the right-wing outlet Breitbart during an interview on Wednesday. "She should not be allowed to do that with the stocks. She should not be allowed to do that. It's not fair to the rest of this country."

Trump's comments, while aimed specifically at Pelosi, add to a growing number of calls to prohibit members of Congress or their family members from trading stocks while holding positions in office. Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said the debate should be left up to congressional leadership, as some lawmakers have recently proposed legislation to ban such practices.

"The president didn't trade individual stocks when he was a senator. That is how he approached things," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday. "He also believes that everyone should be held to the highest standard, but he'll let the leadership in Congress and members of Congress determine what the rules should be."

In 2012, Congress passed the the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, in an effort to prevent lawmakers from trading on nonpublic information. However, recent investigations have found that dozens of lawmakers, and more than 180 senior staffers have violated the act, according to Business Insider.

Now, a number of lawmakers, including Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly, as well as Republican Senator Josh Hawley, have re-introduced legislation aimed at banning congressional stock trading. Those against the practice have argued that lawmakers may be using inside information to make a profit, thus compromising public trust.

"Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they're supposed to be regulating," Hawley said in a statement about his bill. "Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other at the expense of the country."

Donald Trump Says Pelosi Shouldn't Trade Stocks
Former President Donald Trump said this week that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should not be allowed to trade stocks. Here, Pelosi speaks during a press conference at Union Station on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 17 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

However, those views are in direct opposition to Pelosi, who told reporters in December that the U.S. is a "a free-market economy," and that lawmakers "should be able to participate in that."

Pelosi has regularly defended her congressional trading by saying that she does not personally trade stocks, but her husband does, and those decisions are managed solely by him. However, the pair have reported millions of dollars in tech stocks—including investments in Apple, Visa and Facebook—as part of their annual financial disclosures, according to The Hill.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland joined Pelosi in defending congressional stock trading on Wednesday, stating that as long as it is done so legally, lawmakers should be allowed to participate in market trading.

"My general feeling is that members ought not to be in a different situation that they would otherwise be if they weren't members of Congress," Hoyer said. "As long as they do so legally, without having some special advantage, my immediate reaction is that it should not be precluded."

Amid the ongoing debate, a recent poll conducted by Data for Progress found that 67 percent of American voters support banning lawmakers from trading stocks while in office.

Newsweek contacted Pelosi's office and representatives for Trump for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.