President Trump has not exactly had a comfortable, easygoing relationship with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but he has maintained a certain level of professional respect for the political position she holds in Congress. That went out the door on Thursday after reports surfaced that Pelosi told top Democrats that she would like to see Trump “in prison” for whatever crimes she imagines he committed. Defeating Hillary Clinton, we would guess, being chief among them.
In an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Thursday night, Trump unloaded on Pelosi.
“I think she’s a disgrace,” he said. “I actually don’t think she’s a talented person. I’ve tried to be nice to her because I would have liked to have gotten some deals done. She’s incapable of doing deals. She’s a nasty, vindictive, horrible person.”
He wasn’t finished.
“Nancy Pelosi’s a disaster,” he said. “Okay, she’s a disaster. It’s the most disgusting thing what she’s allowed to happen in her district – with needles, with drug addicts, with people living in the middle of streets, with people living on the sidewalk.”
In recent weeks, Pelosi has been walking a fine thread with her position on impeachment. She thinks it would be a political mistake that could cost the Democrats dearly in the 2020 elections. But her senior leadership – particularly embodied by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York – wants to move forward with hearings. They think that there is political capital to be made off an impeachment trial, even if it is sure to end in failure over in the Senate.
What’s really weird about this whole thing is that Democrats are not taking Pelosi to task for acting as a third-world dictator. For years, they’ve accused Trump of acting like the despot of a banana republic with threats of prosecuting political opponents. Now, we have Pelosi (and several 2020 Democrats) threatening to put Trump behind bars…and it’s suddenly okay? What fresh hypocrisy is this?
The truth is, Pelosi was speaking out of desperation. She knows she’s about three minutes from a full-scale mutiny within the Democratic Party, so she’s shoveling red meat to the wolves as quickly as she can. Caught between an unconstitutional, absurd, political disaster on the one hand and the loss of her speakership on the other, she’s saying whatever she can say to thread the needle.
Such are the perils of leading a party that is intent on self-destruction.