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Nancy Pelosi’s attacks on Trump put key deals at risk, warns Sen. John Thune
Nancy Pelosi is jeopardizing any chance of bipartisan deals on matters like infrastructure, top Republicans said Thursday.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said that Pelosi is “blowing things up” with her continued attacks on President Donald Trump. The president walked out of an infrastructure meeting with Pelosi and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Wednesday after Pelosi accused Trump of a criminal “cover-up” that morning.
Speaker risking bipartisan deals
Pelosi and Schumer met with Trump on Wednesday to talk infrastructure, one of a few bipartisan issues on which the opposing sides have some hope of reaching an agreement. Trump, steamed, walked out of the meeting and held a spontaneous Rose Garden press conference, where he demanded that Democrats stop their investigations if they want to make any deals with him.
Trump’s outburst was prompted by Pelosi’s accusation that morning that he engaged in a criminal “cover-up.” The speaker made the remarks after a meeting with her caucus to discuss their investigations of Trump and impeachment.
Republicans say that Pelosi was wrong to drop a bomb in Trump’s lap and then expect him to negotiate.
“That is major. That’s blowing things up around here,” Thune said. “That’s kind of like dropping the nuclear bomb, to come out and accuse somebody of committing a crime, and not have anything to back it up.”
Whose fault is it, anyway?
The spat recalled Trump’s protracted government shutdown battle with “Chuck and Nancy” earlier this year. Democrats are again eager to make Trump own the failure to reach a deal, accusing him of holding the nation’s infrastructure “hostage,” much like they did before.
Democrats say that they have a constitutional duty to investigate the president, but Trump has blasted their continued probes as little more than a partisan fishing expedition. Although Robert Mueller’s investigation ended weeks ago, a full-scale campaign of harassment continues, with Democrats slandering the president, threatening members of his administration with imprisonment and fines, and spinning elaborate conspiracy narratives about Trump’s criminality.
Given this hostility, Trump can hardly be blamed for having doubts about his negotiating partners’ good intentions. But Democrats are trying to pin the blame on Trump, saying he never had any genuine intentions to discuss infrastructure in the first place.
Pelosi and Schumer expressed agreement with Trump at another meeting weeks before on a provisional $2 trillion infrastructure deal, but funding for the project had yet to be finalized at that time. The top Democrats were quick to blame Trump for this latest collapse in negotiations, accusing him of coming to the table in bad faith and staging a political “stunt.”
Schumer said that Trump was now using investigations as an excuse to walk away, since the president was willing to bargain a few weeks prior, at a time when the investigations were already in progress.
“Now that he was forced to actually say how he would pay for it, he had to run away,” Schumer said. “And he came up with this pre-planned excuse. It’s clear this was not a spontaneous move on the president’s part. It was planned.”
Pelosi continues the witch hunt
The speaker’s “cover-up” accusation came after weeks of sustained attacks and slander against Trump and his officials, as Democrats have ramped up their own separate investigations into the president. Russian collusion has all but faded from the story, as the Democrats’ investigations have taken on their own life. More and more Democrats are saying that Trump should be impeached not over collusion, but for obstructing Mueller’s investigation — or even for refusing to cooperate with their own separate probes.
Indeed, Democrats seeking Trump’s tax returns, financial records, and witness testimony from Trump officials have grown increasingly restless over White House stonewalling of their subpoena power. Pelosi’s remarks came after former White House counsel Donald McGahn skipped a congressional hearing this week on Trump’s orders, angering Democrats and spurring more calls for impeachment.
Even as her rhetoric has become more vicious, Pelosi has continued to hold impeachment at bay, counseling Democrats to focus on their investigations of the president instead. But Trump’s refusal to cooperate has heaped pressure on Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings. Pelosi seems to be thriving on a paradox for the moment: while claiming that Trump committed impeachable offenses, she isn’t moving forward with impeachment either.
It certainly looks like Pelosi is feeling the impeachment pressure, but she still isn’t shifting her position. Pelosi doubled down Thursday at her weekly press conference, where she again accused Trump of impeachable obstruction of justice. But she equivocated, saying that impeachment was not yet in the works — while bashing Trump for throwing a “temper tantrum.”
“Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family, or his administration, or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi told reporters.
If Pelosi wants to reach a deal with Trump, then she needs to come to the table in good faith. Trump cannot rightly be faulted for thinking she has bad intentions.
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