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Pelosi criticized after thanking Floyd for 'sacrificing' his life

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiIncreasingly active younger voters liberalize US electorate Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-Calif.) is taking heat on Tuesday after thanking the late George Floyd for "sacrificing" his life for the cause of "justice," comments she made just after a Minneapolis jury found a police officer guilty of Floyd's murder.

"Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice," Pelosi said during a press conference with the Congressional Black Caucus just outside the Capitol building. "Because of you, and because of thousands — millions — of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice."

The remarks raised eyebrows among some staffers on Capitol Hill who were watching the event. And the Speaker was immediately panned as tone deaf — and worse — by a long and growing list of conservative pundits and Twitter users after her comments were reported by several news outlets across the country.

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"An absolutely bizarre statement from Nancy Pelosi about a man murdered by law enforcement," read a typical reaction.

In response to the criticism, Pelosi quickly tweeted a short statement, referencing her initial remarks, which her office labeled a clarification.

"George Floyd should be alive today. His family’s calls for justice for his murder were heard around the world. He did not die in vain," she said. "We must make sure other families don't suffer the same racism, violence & pain, and we must enact the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act."

Since Floyd's death in May of last year, Pelosi has been at the front of the Democrats' effort to enact sweeping new criminal justice reforms designed to combat police violence and racial bias in law enforcement. And House Democrats have twice passed such reforms — named in honor of Floyd — in the months since his death.

After Tuesday's verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin — who was found guilty on the three criminal charges he faced, including second-degree murder — Pelosi said she hopes the legal outcome will lend momentum to the reform legislation in the Senate.

"We change the law, we're going down a different path altogether," she said.