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Pelosi admits Congress won’t be able to override Trump’s border wall veto
Nancy Pelosi / CCL
Pelosi staked her career on resisting President Donald Trump, especially his immigration agenda. But she’s ended any pretense of being able to stop Trump’s border wall plan.
The House Speaker has been on a losing streak, admitting Wednesday that she has no chance of overriding President Trump’s veto of the Congressional resolution to undo the national emergency declaration. She’s going for it anyway just to “make a point.”
This isn’t Pelosi’s only recent concession. After months of Democrats building anticipation for impeachment, Pelosi said that it would be a “waste of time” to seek Trump’s ouster last week.
Pelosi on a losing streak
Pelosi has had a difficult month. The Speaker was battered with accusations that she was losing control of her party after she failed to resolutely condemn Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) over comments that many denounced as anti-Semitic.
Then came Pelosi’s sudden admission to the Washington Post last week that she has no intentions of pursuing impeachment against Trump. The speaker doubled down this week, saying it would be a “waste of time” to pursue an impeachment crusade without hard proof of wrongdoing.
Then, this Wednesday, came Pelosi’s admission that overriding Trump’s national emergency veto, issued last Friday — the first of his presidency — is “not the point.” Pelosi will hold a — purely symbolic — override vote on March 26.
“Whether we can succeed with the number of votes is not the point,” Pelosi said during a press conference in Manhattan. “We are establishing the intent of Congress. The President has decided to be in defiance of the Constitution, to deface it, with his actions.”
Trump issued the veto after 12 Republicans defected and voted with Democrats to pass a resolution blocking his February national emergency declaration to fund the wall. An override will certainly fail as it would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers, and Republicans hold the Senate.
Virtue signaling Pelosi
Is Pelosi just feeling fatigued, or is this her new threshold of success: “Setting an example?” Lacking any substantive victories, it looks like Pelosi is settling for token resistance.
“Establishing the intent of Congress will help us in the court of law and in the court of public opinion,” the speaker said.
Pelosi’s vote might be toothless, but the Speaker held up the protest vote as a victory all its own. In the era of Trump, Mueller, impeachment and the like, when legislative victories prove elusive and gridlock freezes up Washington, purely ritual victories can go a long way. It looks like Pelosi is cashing in on a protest vote to shore up some political currency.
She can hardly be faulted for doing so, particularly as the Democrats’ impeachment narrative appears headed for a total collapse. Pelosi has decided that giving up on impeachment is the smartest plan as many Democrats are losing hope that Robert Mueller’s report will deliver proof of collusion. Mueller finally released his report Friday to Attorney General William Barr.
Pelosi is even striking a somewhat more conciliatory tone these days, telling reporters Wednesday she wants to find “common ground” with Trump on infrastructure and lowing prescription drug costs.
While the speaker has given up on impeachment, and is seemingly interested in legislating more and obstructing less, it looks like she nevertheless intends to keep up a token resistance against Trump to keep the Democratic base fired up. However, there’s a difference between virtue signaling and winning.
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