Nancy Pelosi defends bringing son on Taiwan trip after husband's DUI charge

Lawyer for Pelosi's husband appeared in court to plead not guilty on his behalf to DUI charges during her Taiwan trip

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Wednesday defended bringing her son on a recent congressional junket to Taiwan and other Asian countries.

The speaker was asked by reporters at a Capitol Hill press conference about the presence of her son, Paul Pelosi Jr., on the trip.

"His role was to be my escort," she said. "Usually, we [invite] spouses, not all could come, but I was proud he was there."

PELOSI ON WHETHER TAIWAN TRIP WAS 'WORTH IT': 'ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT ANY QUESTION'

Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, speaks with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she prepares to leave Taipei, Taiwan, on Aug. 3, 2022. Pelosi left Taiwan after a visit that heightened tensions with China, saying Wednesday that she and other members of Congress in her delegation showed they will not abandon their commitment to the self-governing island. (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, speaks with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she prepares to leave Taipei, Taiwan, on Aug. 3, 2022. Pelosi left Taiwan after a visit that heightened tensions with China, saying Wednesday that she and other members of Congress in her delegation showed they will not abandon their commitment to the self-governing island. (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

The speaker stressed that her son had no business dealings during the trip, which spanned several Asian nations, including Japan and South Korea.

Her husband, Paul Pelosi Sr., did not attend the trip. Instead, the 82-year-old California businessman's lawyer appeared in a Napa County Superior Court last week to plead not guilty on his behalf to charges of driving under the influence.

Paul Pelosi and Nancy Pelosi attend the Bloomberg and Vanity Fair cocktail reception at the residence of the French ambassador in Washington, D.C., on April 25, 2015.

Paul Pelosi and Nancy Pelosi attend the Bloomberg and Vanity Fair cocktail reception at the residence of the French ambassador in Washington, D.C., on April 25, 2015. (Dimitrios Kambouris/VF15/WireImage)

In late May, a Porsche allegedly driven by the speaker's husband sustained "major collision damage" during a late-night crash in Napa County. Police officers claim to have found Paul Pelosi Sr. in the driver's seat of his damaged car. 

He faces two misdemeanor charges: DUI causing injury and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% causing injury.

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The date on which Paul Pelosi Sr.'s lawyer appeared in court to plead not guilty coincided roughly with the end of the speaker's visit to Taiwan. It is unclear if that is why the speaker's husband did not accompany her on the trip.

A request for comment was not immediately returned by the speaker's office.

Republicans have criticized the trip, telling Fox News Digital last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Texas that it only served to heighten tensions between the U.S. and China.

Rep. Ben Cline, a Republican from Virginia, talks to Fox News Digital at CPAC in Texas on Aug. 6, 2022.

Rep. Ben Cline, a Republican from Virginia, talks to Fox News Digital at CPAC in Texas on Aug. 6, 2022. (Fox News Digital/Haris Alic)

The visit saw communist China, which had threatened to shoot down Pelosi's plane at one point, undertake live-fire military exercises near the border of Taiwan in a show of force.

"I am concerned that she created an international incident with what is essentially a farewell tour," said Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., who added that Republicans "will continue to stand strong for Taiwan. But we will do it in a way that doesn't inflame tensions, and actually addresses the challenges facing that part of the world."

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The speaker has defended the Taiwan visit, which was endorsed by more than two dozen GOP senators, as worthwhile and showed communist China that the U.S. would not be pushed around.