Nancy Pelosi is masterful and skilled and determined and not only a worthy counterweight to President Trump but his constitutional equal, the mainstream media crowed on Thursday.
“The two most powerful people in Washington – Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi – will meet for the first time as president and speaker Friday during a midmorning White House meeting in what looks like a futile attempt to end a government shutdown as it hits the two-week mark,” wrote CNN’s Stephen Collinson in “Trump, Pelosi face off in epic power struggle.”
He did not note that Pelosi had to fend off a challenge from younger members and promise to serve as speaker for only four years to secure enough votes from her own caucus to prevail or even that 12 Democrats voted against her for speaker on Wednesday.
Collinson went on to explain Pelosi “is a political lifer” who had deftly put down a revolt from new members. “The speaker, by securing a second run at the job despite early rumblings of dissent among younger Democrats, proved once again her mastery of Washington process,” Collinson wrote. “Her vote-counting prowess is especially remembered for pushing Obamacare into law during her first turn at running the House.”
President Trump, on the other hand, “is a legislative neophyte,” who, “despite enjoying a Republican monopoly on power for two years,” has an “unpredictable nature” that was “often more of a hindrance to his party in advancing its agenda than a help.”
They could have a productive relationship like she had with President George W. Bush, Collinson wrote. But “Trump is a far more volatile personality than Bush and often sees political differences in deeply personal terms. His default mode of projecting power is to identify an enemy and apply withering political fire.”
Collinson said the difference in approaches were on display Thursday. “Pelosi was legislating, passing the bill to reopen the government that put Republicans – who had already passed a similar effort to keep the government open last month in the Senate – in a difficult spot,” he wrote.
“Trump, meanwhile, was presiding over a propaganda stunt in the White House Briefing Room, designed to change the subject from Pelosi’s day of triumph and to provide footage for conservative news channels.”
Collinson did not note that it was Pelosi who was engaging in a propaganda stunt. The legislation she got the House to pass did not include funding for a border wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would not “waste its time” on her legislation because he has made clear he won’t bring legislation to the floor to end the shutdown unless it has the support of the president because it would face a certain veto, and neither house of Congress comes close to having the votes to override.
Yet, Collinson wrote “The Pelosi approach is designed to show that Democrats can govern and can provide stability after two years of chaos fostered by Trump’s disruption.”
Newsweek focused on Pelosi’s claim she is now as powerful as Trump. “Nancy Pelosi – now elected House speaker – said in an interview the U.S. Constitution made he and President Donald Trump equals,” wrote David Brennan under “Nancy Pelosi Fires Warning at Trump, Days Constitution Considers Them Equals as New Congress Opens for Business.”
It did not question the claim, although, as Joel Pollak at Breitbart News pointed out, the Constitution does not say even that the branches of government are “co-equal” and Pelosi doesn’t even lead the legislative branch but rather what is considered the inferior of the two houses of Congress.
In fact, beyond leading her party, the Constitution gives her no more power than any other member of the body.
And as a Rasmussen poll in December revealed, the nation considers her very much a junior partner when it comes to federal policymaking – with 46 percent saying Trump should take the lead and only 31 percent saying she should.