Political News

Pelosi laments Notre Dame fire, recalls visits to 'central place of faith'

Posted April 16, 2019 1:02 p.m. EDT

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed sadness over the partial destruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris that was damaged Monday by a catastrophic fire, saying the building endured a "tragedy."

"So sad, what a tragedy. And just such a historic place. Of course a place of religion, a place of culture, a place of history," Pelosi told CNN's Christiane Amanpour Tuesday during an interview in Dublin, Ireland.

"I remember going there with my family when I was a girl and taking my own children there -- my grandchildren going. And (it being) just sort of a central place of faith," she added.

Pelosi is currently leading a congressional delegation on a trip that has so far taken them to US European and Africa military commands based in Stuttgart, Germany. They've also stopped in London to meet with government leaders and civil society leaders, and they will also visit Dublin and Northern Ireland.

The fire that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral devastated large parts of the 850-year-old church. After battling the blaze for several hours, firefighters were able to extinguish the fire, which destroyed the entire wooden interior of the cathedral as well as its famed spire. Officials said Monday that the firefighters were able to save the cathedral's iconic bell towers and its elaborate stonework facade.

Pelosi, who is Roman Catholic, praised the efforts of the firefighters, saying "it's almost miraculous that so much of it has been saved by those courageous firefighters."

"They were very wise in what they protected and how they saved some of the building," she said. "We all owe them our prayers and a debt of gratitude."

Speaking outside the cathedral late Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the cathedral, a task Pelosi said was possible due to how much of the building survived the fire.

"It will take a long time to come back. But at least there's enough left there. The structure is there," she said.

On Monday, President Donald Trump also weighed in on the tragedy, saying at an event in Minnesota that the "terrible, terrible fire" was likely caused by renovations that had been underway before the blaze began.