US President Donald Trump has accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “stammering” her way through a news conference as the pair trade tit-for-tat insults over each other’s mental fitness.
The Democratic leader accused Mr Trump of angrily storming out of a meeting at the White House earlier this week and suggested he needed an “intervention”, prompting the President to again declare himself an “extremely stable genius”.
“PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” he later tweeted on Thursday night, sharing a segment from Fox News host Lou Dobbs featuring a series of clips of Ms Pelosi stumbling over her words.
“Last time I checked this is three, not this,” Dobbs said, referring to Ms Pelosi holding up two fingers as she said “three things”.
“It was worse yesterday, she could not put a subject with a predicate in the same sentence. What’s going on?”
Mr Trump earlier described Ms Pelosi as a “mess” and claimed she was “disintegrating”.
“I’ve been watching her. I have been watching her for a long period of time. She’s not the same person. She’s lost it. Let’s face it, she doesn’t understand it,” he said.
Ms Pelosi, who is grappling with a Democratic caucus split on the issue of impeaching the President, has been a favourite target of conservatives who regularly accuse her of slurring her words.
“Nancy Pelosi has a hardware malfunction on live television,” read the top post on the Reddit Donald Trump forum on Friday. “‘Three things.’ Holds up two fingers. Won’t be long now,” the top comment said.
But according to The Washington Post, a number of the videos circulating on social media have been subtly edited to make it seem as if Ms Pelosi is intoxicated.
A three-minute video of Ms Pelosi speaking at the Center for American Progress on Wednesday was uploaded to Facebook on the page of a group called “Politics WatchDog”, where it was viewed more than 1.4 million times and attracted 16,000 comments calling her “drunk” and “a babbling mess”.
The clip was also circulated widely on YouTube and Twitter before being taken town, the Post reported. But according to digital experts, the video had actually been slowed down to about 75 per cent of its original speed.
“There is no question that the video has been slowed to alter Pelosi’s voice,” University of California Berkeley computer-science professor Hany Farid told the paper.
“It is striking that such a simple manipulation can be so effective and believable to some. While I think that deepfake technology poses a real threat, this type of low-tech fake shows that there is a larger threat of misinformation campaigns — too many of us are willing to believe the worst in people that we disagree with.”
Ms Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill told the Post, “We’re not going to comment on this sexist trash.”