Columnist explains how Nancy Pelosi is outsmarting Trump and proving 'how much power she wields'
With the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government reaching the four-week mark — making it the longest halt to federal activities in United States history — President Donald Trump keeps insisting he’s willing to keep the government shut down for months or “even years” if Congress is unwilling to fund a U.S./Mexico border wall. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to cave in to his demands, maintaining that while she is happy to fund border security, she opposes Trump's attempt to leverage a functioning government to get funds for the wall.
And in his latest column, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson praises Pelosi for “seizing the initiative in the trench warfare over Trump’s government shutdown and his imaginary border wall.”
The liberal columnist is especially impressed with the way Pelosi has handled Trump’s State of the Union address, which was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29. Citing security concerns and the shutdown, Pelosi recommended postponing the address in a Jan. 16 letter to the president.
Robinson writes, “Pelosi’s play was a stiletto-sharp reminder of how much power she wields—and an illustration of how deftly she is wielding it. Democrats who demanded new leadership in the House should be thankful that they didn’t get their wish. It is hard to imagine anyone better matched to the moment and the task.”
Robinson describes Trump’s wall as a “ridiculous promise he made to his base” and notes that Pelosi’s “shutdown position is eminently simple and reasonable: reopen the government, and then, we can debate how best to protect the border.”
Robinson adds, “After all, Congress already decided last month to give the Trump Administration every penny it had initially asked for—$1.6 billion—for border security. But right-wing carnival barkers Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter goaded Trump into demanding more than $5 billion for a concrete wall or steel slats—or perhaps, as Pelosi has joked, ‘a beaded curtain or something.’”
Robinson observes that although Pelosi “is still not a natural at performing for the television cameras,” the 78-year-old House speaker gained valuable political knowledge through her family in her home town of Baltimore. Pelosi’s late father, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr. served as mayor of Baltimore from 1947-1959, and her older brother Thomas D’Alesandro III (now 89) held that same position from 1967-1971.
Pelosi, Robinson writes, “will need all her skills in the coming weeks and months. Trump’s efforts to weaken the unity of Pelosi’s caucus have thus far been pathetic, but he will surely keep trying. Ending the shutdown will require Trump to face reality, so it is impossible to know when that might happen.”
Robinson concludes his article by noting that Pelosi is stealing the spotlight from Trump — and he can’t stand it.
“A rookie speaker would make rookie mistakes,” Robinson asserts. “Trump is being knocked around by Pelosi and, even more hurtful, the attention for now is on her.”