Nancy Pelosi Says Republican Party Has Been 'Hijacked By A Cult'

Nancy Pelosi, the 52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives, said the Republican party had been "hijacked by a cult" of allegiance to former President Donald Trump, and urged GOP lawmakers to "take back their party."

Pelosi made the comments in a speech at Cambridge University in the U.K. on Thursday. The event was hosted in the university's union's historic debating chamber.

"I say to my Republican friends—and I do have some—take back your party, you're the grand old party of America, you've done wonderful things for our country. You're now being hijacked by a cult that is just not good for our country," Pelosi told an audience of students.

"Take back your party, don't let it be dominated by those who want to suppress the vote because they have no positive message to win, they want to suppress the vote and that's how they would win," she added.

Pelosi said that those trying to suppress the votes don't respect the diversity of the U.S. and popular support for policies such as background checks on guns and a woman's right to choose.

"Take back your party so it's more of a reflection of Republicans in the country than allegiance to the former president [Trump] and one of the ways we can help improve that situation would be to pass H01, which would have redistricting in a way, that is again agnostic, along the lines of a voting rights act. It may not benefit Democrats, but it may benefit the country because it would make Republican districts more open to people other than the ones that are in Congress now."

In a wide-ranging discussion, Pelosi also accused China of committing "genocide" with the Uighur Muslims, tampering with the culture and religion of Tibet and suppressing democracy in Hong Kong and other parts of China.

"They're just getting worse in terms of suppression and freedom of speech, militarily," she said.

But Pelosi added that Beijing and Washington need to put their differences aside to work on climate change, which she called "an overriding issue." She noted that both China and the U.S. were leading carbon dioxide emitters.

"We have to have a level of communication, whether it's COVID, whether it's terrorism, whether it's climate, we still have to have some communication and dialogue with China on that," she said.

Newsweek has contacted the Chinese foreign ministry for comment.

On Wednesday, just a day before Pelosi's speech, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. established a new military pact called AUKUS—which appeared to be in response to China's increased aggression in the South China sea.

The new military pact will spend the next 18 months drawing up plans to help Australia deliver its first fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a regular press conference on Thursday that the decision of the three governments to cooperate on Australia's nuclear-powered submarine program "undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race."

Lijian called the pact "extremely irresponsible behavior."

Nancy Pelosi maskeless salon owner video Kious
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at her weekly news conference at the Capitol building on August 06, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Pelosi criticized China's human rights record in a speech at Cambridge University, UK, on Thursday. Erica Kious/Getty