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Steyer: Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Billionaire and Democratic activist Tom Steyer has nothing but nice things to say about Nancy Pelosi — but he thinks she should stop using her "crumbs" line to talk about the GOP tax plan.

"Words really matter," he told Axios at the California Democratic Party convention. "I think she probably wouldn't use that word again because they're trying to use it against her. Nancy was making a point that was true, but she said it in a way that disparaged the amount of money that they were getting."

Steyer said he understands what Pelosi was trying to say — that the vast majority of Americans are getting a disproportionate amount compared to the wealthiest — but he said she should stop using "crumbs" because Republicans will continue to "turn it around to make it look like she's insensitive."

He wouldn't say if Democrats need new leadership. "I'm sure Nancy will kill herself to win on Nov. 6," he said. "I have a ton of gratitude for what she's done and the job she's done."

  • But he thinks the Democratic Party needs to figure out what it stands for and what it's willing to fight for.
  • His speech at the California Democratic Party convention will highlight that message. The Trump administration is "so damn dumb," he said, and Democrats have to ask: "What are they not doing that we want them to do?"

One quick thing, on Republicans dusting off their old playbook and using attack ads against Pelosi as a 2018 campaign strategy: "I don't think there's any doubt that Nancy is a flash for the hard-right," he said. "They've managed to turn her into a caricature of what they fear."

Go deeper: Prominent Democrats want Pelosi to stop using her "crumbs" line.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

"I was horrified": Leaders respond to footage of Black and Latino Army officer threatened at traffic stop

An Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after he said they drew their guns and pepper-sprayed him during a traffic stop in December.

Why it matters: Footage of the incident has drawn widespread criticism from leaders and groups in the state. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is heard saying “I’m honestly afraid to get out," to which a police officer responds “Yeah, you should be," in a video from a body-worn camera.

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.