Spare, if you will, a minute’s pity for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). They are not precisely enjoying the federal government shutdown as they might have hoped.
Pelosi had already loaded her bags and boarded the Air Force bus Thursday, in addition to a sizable delegation of Home Democratic leaders, for her abroad junket.
She and her pals were, no doubt, eagerly anticipating touring NATO’s billion-dollar-plus brand-new headquarters in Brussels; positioning for selfies on camelback by the pyramids in Egypt; smiling for photo-ops with the troops in Afghanistan.
Then the order came from President Donald Trump to prohibit her use of government airplane.
Fly business, he recommended. Thereisa federal government shutdown going on, after all.
And, as Trump kept in mind, 800,000 federal employees will continue to go overdue– unless Democrats remain in town to work out.
The bus went ’round the block and back.
Pelosi’s shock should have been quite something to observe.
She is not used to being treated like this, you see. She apparently expected she could cancel (ahem, “delay”) the State of the Union address due to the shutdown– and then vanish abroad.
Trump’s response– blocking Pelosi’s use of the airplane– was gutsy. It was a “drain the overload” minute.
However the timing was pure funny gold. (Adam Schiff, stepping off the bus, looked like he ‘d seen a Russian.)
In a declaration, Pelosi’s spokesman objected that the function of the journey had been “to affirm the United States’ ironclad dedication to the NATO alliance,” something the president had currently done previously that day.
Her real goal was to perform an alternative diplomacy– as she did after being elected Speaker in 2007, when she paid a friendly visit to Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad.
Pelosi’s flack grumbled that President Trump himself had actually flown to check out the soldiers in Iraq early in the shutdown.
But Trump is the commander-in-chief, and Pelosi is not. How disconcerting for her to be reminded that although she may pretend the Constitution grants her equivalent power to the president, just Trump can turn the bus around.
It was just the most recent problem for Pelosi in the shutdown fight.
She and Schumer firmly insisted on equivalent tv time after Trump’s Oval Workplace address last week– only to be buffooned mercilessly for odd staging and unreasonable makeup.
Pelosi needs to have thought her State of the Union gambit would be a winner. And it was– with the media.
Politico’s lead heading Thursday early morning shrieked: “PELOSI PLAYS HARDBALL.” The article added: “The strong relocation likewise sent out the unmistakable signal that Pelosi holds all the cards in the lower chamber.” A different post in Politico stated: “Donald Trump may have lastly met his match in Nancy Pelosi.” It explained her as “satin and steel.”
CNN’s Chris Cilizza also chimed in, applauding Pelosi’s “significant power relocation.”
However her choice was quickly exposed as a major blunder.
Initially, Pelosi’s specified validation– security issues– was rapidly unmasked by the Trick Service and Department of Homeland Security. (Simply put: she lied.)
Second, by refusing to hear the president’s speech, Pelosi successfully offered Trump license to offer his speech anywhere– in the Senate, possibly, or in a football arena, far beyond the frowns of Pelosi’s brand-new majority.
Believe it or not, Trump is winning the shutdown.
True, surveys recommend a majority of Americans blame him– not a surprise, since he told us he would be “proud” to take responsibility. And a National Public Radio poll recommended that there are “fractures revealing with his base.”
Moreover, though the public is rather inoculated versus the media’s normal shutdown scary stories– they have sobbed wolf a lot of times in the past– there could be some genuine difficulty ahead.
Yet Trump is winning– due to the fact that he is fighting back.
That is partly a repercussion of his position: the White Home constantly has the advantage in a negotiation with Congress, specifically a divided Congress.
But Trump is also winning due to the fact that he is combating harder– and smarter– than any Republican has in the past.
He began by choosing the ideal fight. The one reason for which the general public– or enough of the public– may forgive a federal government shutdown is nationwide security. And Trump has framed the border problem as a nationwide security issue, not a question of migration policy.
That means the shutdown can never ever be totally his fault: it is his responsibility, as commander-in-chief, to refuse to sign a budget plan that positions Americans in risk.
Trump does not need to convince the polls that he is right. He knows if he starts to solve the problem, his support will return.
Pelosi and Schumer are rather brand-new to analytical. They have likewise never seen a Republican politician who combats back. That is why they are losing the shutdown.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author ofHow Trump Won: The Scoop of a Transformation, which is readily available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.