Nancy Pelosi draws new battle lines with Trump as the war between Democrats and the White House rages on.
Editor’s Note: Samuel Warde is the editor-in-chief of Liberals Unite (recently re-branded as The Art of Living) as well as a contributor to Mindy Fischer, Writer. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. You can view a list of his articles here.
Vanity Fair has called her “the president’s chief antagonist.” Other’s refer her as “Trump’s worst nightmare.” Either way one wants to put it, newly empowered Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a formidable force to be reckoned with for the White House.
As the Trump shutdown goes into it’s fourth week, Trump show no sign of backing down from his demand for $5.7 billion to build his beloved border wall with Mexico. Democrats say they will not discuss border security until the government is reopened and as NBC News reported, “Pelosi is refusing money for the wall [Democrats] view as ineffective and immoral.”
The battle lines intensified on Wednesday. Citing security constraints from the government shutdown and a document from Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump asking him to reschedule the upcoming State of the Union Speech, or deliver it in writing. [You can read her full letter by clicking here.]
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government reopens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has reopened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to Congress on January 29,” she said in her letter.
And as CNN confirmed, Pelosi isn’t shooting blanks when it comes to her request [demand?!].
While Pelosi’s letter is framed as a request to find a new date, the decision of when to host the President is very much up to the speaker of the House. The House and the Senate have to pass resolutions to actually green light the State of the Union. Neither have done so yet and Pelosi controls whether the House passes one at all.
But wait, it gets better. Pelosi letter has broader implications as it serves to disrupt administration plans to turn the State of the Union speech into a bully pulpit.
As CNN reported: “White House adviser Stephen Miller and other White House speechwriters have been working on the President’s State of the Union address for weeks. An administration official said they were prepared to craft it around the government shutdown, targeting Democrats.”
The New York Times reported on other implications of Pelosi’s letter:
While she couched her request in logistical concerns, Ms. Pelosi’s proposal served as a reminder to Mr. Trump that, with Democrats in control of the House, she has the power to frustrate his agenda and upend his plans amid a prolonged stalemate over his demands for a wall on the southwestern border. It intensified the pressure on the president as a group of centrist House Democrats and Republicans were heading to the White House for talks with Mr. Trump in the Situation Room aimed at resolving the impasse.
Trump Remains Clueless
It would appear that Trump remains clueless regarding the full implications of the Blue Tsunami that swept Democrats back into power in the House of Representatives.
CNN‘s Errol Louis recently reported that: “It’s unclear whether Trump has grasped the full meaning of the new environment in Washington. For the past two years… [Trump] has defended himself with a key assist from Republican members of Congress.”
But all that changed with the midterms, as Louis reported:
Before her colleagues even voted to make her the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi let President Trump know that his days of dominating the national political agenda with bluff, bluster and bullsh** have come to an end.
When asked whether she thought Trump deals with her differently because she’s a woman, she said, “I have no idea. We’ll see how he will deal with the speaker of the House. … I hope he recognizes that a new day has dawned in America.”
Shutting Down Republicans
So far Republican response has been as expected. Take Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of GOP leadership, who told reporters the he didn’t know how Democrats could pull this one off.
“I can’t imagine telling the President of United States — one, they are not negotiating with him on the shutdown and, two, now they are going to tell him he can’t come to the Capitol to them,” he stated. “That seems pretty far-fetched. I don’t think that’s going to go over very well with the American people.”
However, as CNN reported, there is historic precedence for Pelosi’s request:
The US Constitution requires the President to brief Congress on the state of the union, but that briefing is not required to be a speech in front of Congress. President George Washington and his successor, John Adams, both delivered their annual messages as speeches before Congress. President Thomas Jefferson began the practice of delivering the State of the Union in writing. The tradition continued for 112 years until 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson resumed the practice of giving the address in person. Almost every president since has delivered the address in person, rather than in writing.