Nancy Pelosi’s triumphant return to a leadership position lasted exactly fourteen days. That’s how long it took for President Trump to relegate the re-minted House Speaker back to the sidelines of failed leadership.
Pelosi re-took control of the 116th Congress on January 3rd. Boastful and arrogant, she strode back into the spotlight, confident of her ability to rein Donald Trump in under her control. On Wednesday the 16th, she struck, announcing that she was prepared to prevent President Trump from delivering the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. Her threat delivered, Pelosi packed for a seven day overseas PR tour, giddy at the prospect of leaving President Trump in the lurch.
It wasn’t until Nancy was on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, that she learned that President Trump was the Commander-in-Chief, and had cancelled the military flight that was to fly her bus full of Democrats on their jaunt abroad.
Humiliated, Nancy and her cohorts returned to the Capitol and slunk back into their offices. Pelosi had lost, and Trump remained the boss.
Fourteen days, and Nancy’s reign as Queen of the government had ended.
President Trump used his executive authority not to punish Pelosi, but to prevent her from fleeing the country, an act that could only result in punishing the nation.. As he said in his letter, “it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me”. In this shutdown conflict, President Trump remains the only adult in the room.
In her initiation of this conflict, what Pelosi inexplicably forgot, was that only the President of the United States decides where, when, and how to inform Congress of the state of our union. Pelosi’s SOTU threat was empty from the second it was announced. While President Trump has yet to reveal how he will fulfill his constitutional ‘state of the union’ obligation in lieu of Pelosi’s intent to obstruct its delivery, he is utterly free to determine the time and place as he sees fit. It is increasingly looking as if Pelosi will have no choice but to re-invite President Trump to appear before a joint session.
The question remains, what was Pelosi thinking as she and a busload of Democrats prepared to slip out of the country in the midst of a government shutdown. Democrats have been non-stop plucking the heartstrings of the American public, painting portraits of Federal workers losing homes and starving in the gutter.
Yet here was Pelosi, the leader of the opposition party, the only party that could negotiate with President Trump and bring an end to this shutdown, ready to slink out of the country and abandon those same Federal workers with whom she and her party had professed their solidarity. The Democrats literally demonstrated to Federal workers that they were ready to fly off into the sunset and leave those workers, allies of temporary convenience, behind.
Last night, Nancy signaled her surrender, retweeting a message from a House member that said, “I’m asking my colleagues to come to the border, learn the full truth, & govern appropriately and humanely. But don’t hold govt hostage in the meantime.”
The truth of this crisis is at the border. If House Democrats heed Nancy’s advice, head to our southern border, they will learn what everyone else seems to already know. That you cannot hold a nation hostage in an effort to damage Donald Trump’s presidency.
* Donald Trump photo courtesy Gage Skidmore