Trump, Pelosi trade insults as their feud heats up

Updated May 25, 2019

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Pelosi went first, with demure shrugs and practised sass.  — AFP/File
Pelosi went first, with demure shrugs and practised sass. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: She’s calling for an “intervention” to save the nation from him. He says she’s “crazy.” The enmity between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deteriorated on Thursday into rude-and-then-some questioning of his fitness for office and her sanity, with personal attacks flowing from both the nation’s top elected officials after a dramatic blow-up at the White House.

However intended, the exchanges left uncertain ahead of the 2020 election whether Trump and the Democrats will be able to work together on serious, must-pass tasks, such as funding the government and raising the federal borrowing limit, let alone thornier issues such as immigration, national security and more.

Pelosi went first, with demure shrugs and practiced sass. Then, as a tornado warning blared across Washington, Trump followed with a derisive nickname something he had declined to give her, up to now.

“She’s a mess,” Trump told reporters at an afternoon news conference in which he lined up White House staff to testify to his calmness the day before when he walked out after three minutes at a meeting with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer.

“Crazy Nancy. ... I watched Nancy and she was all crazy yesterday.” As for himself, he declared, “I’m an extremely stable genius.” Pelosi scolded back: “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues,” she tweeted.

There was more, before and after that exchange, for political enthusiasts with the time and interest to follow along.

For those who don’t: The theater came a day after Trump stalked out of the Cabinet Room demanding an end to all congressional investigations before he would work with Congress on repairing US infrastructure or other matters. He apparently was wound up generally over the ongoing congressional Trump-Russia probes into whether he obstructed justice, and specifically by Pelosi’s jab a few minutes earlier at the Capitol that he “is engaged in a cover-up.” “I don’t do cover-ups,” fumed Trump, who is fighting subpoenas for testimony by current and former White House officials.

Hanging over the increasingly personal exchanges is a drumbeat among about two dozen Democrats and one Republican to launch impeachment hearings against Trump based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which described Trump’s efforts to block his federal investigation. Pelosi has resisted that impeachment pressure, preferring a methodical process by which Congress investigates and lays out the facts on the question of obstruction of justice. She says the House is “not on a path to impeachment,” but she’s been clear this week that an impeachment inquiry is not off the table.

Short of that, she’s been happy to give Trump a hard time all year, including questioning his manhood and forcing him to re-open the government without the border wall money he demanded. On Thursday, she said the White House is “crying out” for impeachment the idea being that a vindication by the Republican-controlled Senate would help assure his re-election.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2019