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"Don't mess with me": Pelosi embraces viral moment after it spurs hashtag, merchandise and backlash

Pelosi tells reporter, "Don't mess with me"

At her weekly press conference on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted one reporter – and the rest of the world – to hear her loud and clear. "Don't mess with me," she told Sinclair Broadcasting reporter James Rosen, who asked the speaker if she hated President Trump. Pelosi's strong answer went viral – and even she seems impressed by how much the moment resonated.

Rosen called out the question as Pelosi was leaving the press conference. Without missing a beat, she turned to him and said: "I don't hate anybody." After calling Mr. Trump a "coward" and "cruel," she made sure everyone knew she does not hate him.

"As a Catholic, I resent you're using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me," Pelosi said. "I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time."

"So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that," she concluded. She then left the room, and "don't mess with me" took the world by storm. 

By the end of the day, Pelosi herself was sharing newly-created merchandise with the saying on it. #DontMesswithNancy, she tweeted, sharing a link to buy a "Don't Mess with Nancy" sweatshirt.

Not only was 79-year-old Pelosi using the hashtag, so was her daughter, and countless others, making the term trend on Twitter. Even Trump responded to the viral moment. 

"Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit," Mr. Trump tweeted, adding that he does not believe Pelosi prays for him. 

"Don't Mess With Nancy" made it onto the late night circuit, too, with "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" writing a song about the tough speaker of the house. 

As "don't mess with me" traveled far beyond the press room, the other person involved in the viral moment was responding, too. "@SpeakerPelosi erupted in fury at the simple, if pointed, question I asked at her weekly news conference," James Rosen tweeted. CBS News has reached out to Sinclair Broadcasting for comment. 

"Don't mess with me," was not the only thing Pelosi said on Thursday – it was merely just the mic drop on a huge press conference. The speaker also announced that the Democrat-controlled House will begin drafting impeachment articles against the president. 

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