There was supposed to be a meeting about infrastructure today. Remember infrastructure? The policy area where Democrats and Republicans can find agreement and move forward? Well, not so fast. The scheduled meeting between President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer didn’t quite go as planned after Pelosi buckled to the far-leftists in her caucus and accused Trump of engaging in a cover-up over obstruction of justice allegations stemming from the Robert Mueller report.
Pelosi’s comments came this morning after an emergency meeting in which she apparently barely managed to stave off calls from her colleagues to impeach President Trump. For the time being, her efforts were successful and Democrats in the House will not start impeachment proceedings. But that agreement came at a price for the speaker, who having been outflanked by the left made the damning statements about Trump being involved in a cover-up.
As a result of those remarks President Trump apparently entered the meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, did not shake anyone’s hand, and basically told them to kick rocks until their endless investigations into him are over. It is not clear if the president even had time to sit down. It was clear from his blistering comments a while later in the Rose Garden that he was not happy, and would not be working with Democrats anytime soon.
Trump said, “Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up.” He added, referring to a potential infrastructure deal that, “You can’t do it under these circumstances. Get these phony investigations over with.” According to multiple reports Trump was enraged by Pelosi’s remarks, and frankly, he had reason to be.
Somewhere in Ohio, John Boehner may well be sipping a Syrah and smoking a cigarette, smiling to himself that he’s not in the House speaker’s office anymore. Now it is Pelosi who is dealing with rogue young back-benchers, just as Boehner did a decade ago. Pelosi, one of the most gifted politicians of her generation, knows that her members in swing states need real victories, and infrastructure is where that was supposed to happen. That seems to be finished for now.
Since day one of the new Congress, Pelosi and the radical although small, hard-left wing of her party have been at virtual war about how to handle impeachment. Firebrands like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to put on a full-court press, but Pelosi knows there are significant political risks involved with that — especially for purple-district Democrats if these new efforts come up as empty as the Mueller report did.
Trump pointed out in his remarks in the Rose Garden that he allowed the White House Counsel to speak to Mueller for 20 hours, honored subpoenas, and gave Mueller pretty much everything he asked for. He is absolutely confident in his defense of his actions, because, after all, Mueller was always supposed to be the dispositive voice, and he gave Trump a clean bill of legal health.
Make no mistake. This was not the infrastructure meeting at the White House Pelosi wanted. She is desperate for her moderate swing-district representatives to bring home some wins. Infrastructure was the best chance for that. Now, that door seems to be closed.
Instead, her members in swing districts will have to defend two years of tilting at windmills in a vain effort to impeach a duly elected president. No business of the nation done, just further and further rabbit holes trying to pretend that Trump was not rightfully elected president.
This is not what Pelosi wanted. This is what Pelosi was forced into. And its not going to get much better for her. Today the president put her and Schumer on blast that as long as they focus on investigating him, nothing will get done. Meanwhile, Trump’s economy continues to click on all cylinders and it isn’t very clear what kind of correction from Democrats it might need.
This week is not Infrastructure Week.