President Trump got his revenge on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a truly Trumpian way. Just an hour before a delegation of Dem members of congress were set to leave for a trip overseas, Trump revoked their use of military air travel to do so. It’s best to cancel the trip and focus on negotiations, Trump wrote in a letter. But Pelosi and pals are free to fly commercial, he added. The government shutdown has now entered its fourth week.
MEANWHILE, the White House has also cancelled a U.S. delegation’s planned trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the move was made out of consideration of the 800,000 federal workers either furloughed by the shutdown or currently working without pay.
House Democrats are insisting President Trump move the date of the State of the Union address in light of the ongoing government shutdown. In a letter sent to Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said he should reschedule the speech or give his prepared remarks to congress in writing. Her top deputy, Steny Hoyer, went further, saying “the State of the Union is off,” which he later backtracked on. The speech is ultimately up to Pelosi, who has to invite the president to congress to give it.
MEANWHILE, the Secret Service says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi never contacted them about the State of the Union speech. In a letter to Trump, Pelosi cited safety concerns because of the government shutdown. But apparently she never asked the Secret Service for their opinion.
President Trump is signaling that he’d be willing to declare a national emergency unless Congress gives him the money he’s requesting to build a border wall. As he left the White House on Thursday to visit the border, Trump told reporters that not making the declaration would be “very surprising to me” if Congress doesn’t act. The national emergency declaration would allow him to have the military build the wall.
MEANWHILE, Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday called on President Trump to bypass Congress and unilaterally fund the border wall. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s unwillingness to negotiate make it necessary for Trump to use his emergency powers to finance the $5.7 billion barrier, Graham tweeted.
President Trump stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, declaring it a “total waste of time.” The president on Twitter said he began by asking Pelosi if she’d be willing to agree to border wall funding if he agreed to immediately fund and re-open the government. She said no, he left. Vice President Mike Pence was also there and agreed with Trump’s description of the fruitless meeting.
President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night to talk about the ongoing government shutdown over funding for the border wall. In the prime time television address, the first of his presidency, Trump painted the stalemate as a moral, humanitarian issue where Democrats are standing in the way of sensible border security in furtherance of purely political goals.
MEANWHILE—Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer followed Trump on the airwaves to rebut his claims. Appearing together behind a podium, the Democrat duo repeated their claims that they want border security, but a border wall would be an ineffective waste of money.
With the government shutdown now in its third week, President Trump is planning a primetime address from the Oval Office on Tuesday night to discuss “the humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border,” Trump announced in a tweet Monday. Despite initial reports that the major networks were skeptical about giving the president a prime time slot, they have all announced that they’ll carry the speech. It will be at 8 p.m. central time.
MEANWHILE—Dem leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are demanding equal air time.
Billionaire liberal Tom Steyer is dumping millions more into his quest to impeach President Trump. The far-left environmentalist Trump foe is spending $6 million more on his high-profile, well-funded effort to get Trump booted from office. Some on the far left are eagerly embracing impeaching, to the consternation of more mainstream Dems.
Meanwhile, incoming Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said Thursday evening that “we’re gonna go in there and impeach the motherf*****.” New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the language and backed off talk of impeachment, for now at least.
The government shutdown has entered its third week, and President Trump says there hasn’t been much headway in negotiations with Congressional Democrats. Vice President Mike Pence, who is heading up the White House’s outreach to Capitol Hill, said talks on Saturday were productive. But on Twitter, the president asserted “not much headway made today.” Trump and the Dems are at loggerheads over border wall funding – which new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Dems will never agree to.
A Texas judge who struck down Obamacare has thrown Republicans a very hot potato. While President Trump said the ruling is an early Christmas present, allowing the GOP to take another stab at health care reform next year. But Democrats said Republicans are cruel in wanting to eliminate Obamacare. In any case, the failed healthcare law will remain in place until the case makes its way to the appeals court level, and possibly all the way to the Supreme Court.
—QUOTABLE: “While the district court’s absurd ruling will be immediately appealed, Republicans are fully responsible for this cruel decision and for the fear they have struck into millions of families across America who are now in danger of losing their health coverage.” -Nancy Pelosi
—QUOTABLE: “We are going to end up with incredible health care, which is the way it should have been from Day One…And it’s going to happen. It now has a chance to happen.” -Trump
Democrats will move swiftly to enact more gun control once in charge of the House, according to likely next House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Her party will act “boldly” to bring gun control proposals to the table, Politico reported on Monday. That would include background checks on private gun sales, also known as universal background checks. The gun control agenda will take place in the first 100 days of the new Congress, according to California Democrat Rep. Mike Thompson. While controversial, an October gallup poll found 60 percent of Americans want stricter gun laws after a string of highly publicized mass shootings.
—QUOTABLE: “The new Democratic majority will act boldly and decisively to pass commonsense, life-saving background checks that are overwhelmingly supported by the American people.” -Pelosi
—QUOTABLE: “The American people want this. They’re way ahead of the Congress, they’re way ahead of the White House…I think you will see it happen in the first 100 days [of 2019].” -Thompson
It didn’t take long for House Democrats to scrap a plan that would make it harder to raise taxes on the middle class. At the cheering of the far left wing of the party, the incoming majority decided against a rule that would have required a three-fifths supermajority to pass any new tax hikes. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had proposed a compromise, exempting tax hikes on the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans and corporations from the three-fifths threshold. In an early test of how strong the ultra-liberal progressive wing of the party will be, even that compromise died. Republicans pounced, saying Dem claims they don’t want to raise middle class taxes are just empty rhetoric.
—QUOTABLE: “It’s barely gotten any attention, but Nancy Pelosi just made it easier for House Dems to raise taxes on everyone…Not on the wealthy. Everyone. They’ve never been for the middle class – just more government.” -Tweet by Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel
ALSO—The face of the Democratic Socialists in the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, celebrated the failure of the rule to stop middle class tax hikes proposed by Nancy Pelosi.
—QUOTABLE: “When I first won, folks said we were too naive, inexperienced, and uninformed to be effective…Yet in our first weeks, we elevated Green New Deal to national urgency, secured 30 cosponsors on a Select Committee, and helped stop a bad tax rule. I’d say we’re off to a good start.” -Ocasio-Cortez tweet
MEANWHILE—House Democrats are excited for a swift return to pork barrel spending. Pork—also known as goodies and earmarks attached to bills to buy key congressional votes—was banned by the Republican-controlled House several years ago. But incoming Nancy Pelosi flack Steny Hoyer says he expects a sequel—sort of “The Earmark Strikes Back.” House Dems are hoping to find support for pork barrel spending among the incoming Republican minority.
—QUOTABLE: “To say that a member of Congress is unable to help his or her own district I think is incorrect…We are co-equal branches — that is our authority under the Constitution. We don’t have to go hat in hand to the president and say, please, will you spend money on this, that, or the other?” -Hoyer
President Trump clashed with Democrat leaders of Congress in a rare televised White House meeting on Tuesday. The topic was Trump’s demand for funding for a border wall, and Dems’ threat to shut down the government over it. Trump told likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he welcomes a shutdown—he’d be “proud” to shut the government down—if the Democrats obstruct funding for the wall. The truth is that if funding lapses the shutdown would be partial and mostly painless.
—QUOTABLE: “Yes, if we don’t get what we want, one way or the other,” [Trump would be] proud to shut down the government for border security.” -Trump
AFTERWARDS—Nancy Pelosi compared the meeting with Trump to getting peed on by a skunk. In a meeting with other Congressional leaders, she allegedly said “I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild. It goes to show you: ‘You get into a tickle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you’.”
Nancy Pelosi is still short on votes to become the next House Speaker. While Pelosi got the overwhelming endorsement of her fellow Dems to be their nominee for Speaker, the story is different when it comes to a full floor vote, which is yet to come. 32 Democrats voted against her bid to be their party’s nominee, but in a full floor vote she can only stand to lose 16 votes if she wants to get elected Speaker.
—QUOTABLE: “Are there dissenters? Yes…But I expect to have a powerful vote as we go forward.” -Pelosi
Democrats picked Nancy Pelosi as their choice for Speaker of the House in a closed door meeting on Wednesday. The nomination is a big step for Pelosi in her quest to regain the Speakership she held from 2007 through 2011, the only woman to ever hold the position. Pelosi got the Dems’ nomination to be House leader despite a small but committed band of Democrat colleagues opposing her. The full House will vote on who will be speaker soon, but since Pelosi has the backing of the incoming majority party, she’s expected to sail through that vote.
One of the Democrats who had flirted with challenging Nancy Pelosi to be House Speaker is backing down. Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge tweeted last Tuesday that she was standing with Nancy after Pelosi confronted—met with—her in private. The endorsement was part of an apparent deal in which Pelosi, as Speaker, promised to restore a House subcommittee on elections and appoint Fudge to chair it. Fudge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was seen as top potential challenger for the 78 year old Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi faces a serious uphill struggle to seize the mantle again as House Speaker. Now, Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan is saying Pelosi’s decades-long reign at the top of the Democrat caucus is long enough. The party must look elsewhere for a leader that reflects Rust Belt states like his own, as well as the interests of the black women who are the “backbone” of the Dem vote, Ryan said. Pelosi and her chief lieutenants, Steny Hoyer of Maryland and James Clyburn of South Carolina, are ancient and have been in power since 2003 and 2006, respectively. A group of House Dems have signed a letter opposing Pelosi, enough opposition to deny Pelosi the top House job.
BATTLE OVER PELOSI: YES—“Two years from now, people are not going to decide whether they re-elect these people based on Nancy Pelosi. And even now, I think it had very little to do with affecting the election. Hello? We won with Nancy Pelosi. -Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat
—“I think there’s something to be said of new ideas and showing it’s a change and having a different face. That’s why we elect new presidents.” -Rep.-elect Jeff Van Drew, a New Jersey Democrat
MEANWHILE—President Trump is trolling Pelosi, promising her Republican votes to make her House Speaker. “I can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be Speaker of the House. She deserves this victory, she has earned it – but there are those in her party who are trying to take it away. She will win!” Trump tweeted.
Once an activist, always an activist. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is about to take her seat on Congress, showed up for a global warming protest outside Nancy Pelosi’s office. The New York City rep-elect, who bills herself as a Democratic Socialist, joined the sit-down protest calling for more action on climate change, offering words of encouragement and high fives to the throng of lefties. She insisted that there are precious few years left to implement a “Green New Deal” before it’s too late to save the planet from a future of hell, fire, and brimstone.
—QUOTABLE: “I just want to let you all know how proud I am of each and every single one of you for putting yourselves and your bodies and everything on the line to make sure that we save our planet, our generation, and our future.” -Ocasio-Cortez to the protesters
Top Democrats pressed the Department of Justice ethics czar on Monday to disclose whether he’s advised Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Whitaker, the acting attorney general who took over after President Trump forced Jeff Sessions out last week, is under intense pressure from the Democrats to wash his hands of all things related to Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Dems claim that Whitaker’s comments critical of the probe before he started working at the DOJ are disqualifying.
—QUOTABLE: “[W]e request that you immediately notify us in writing regarding whether you, or any other ethics officials at the Justice Department, have advised Mr. Whitaker to recuse from supervision of the special counsel investigation, and the basis for that recommendation.” -Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in a letter to Lee J. Lofthus, DOJ ethics officer
Democrats are dialing up their push to force acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from anything to do with the Mueller probe. Whitaker took over after President Trump effectively fired Jeff Sessions last week, but Dems claim his comments critical of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation disqualify him from having any oversight over the 18-month probe into alleged Russian collusion during the 2016 election. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and other leading Democrats insisted that past statements as chair of a conservative nonprofit, before his time at the Department of Justice, require Whitaker’s immediate recusal.
—QUOTABLE: “There are serious ethical considerations that require Mr. Whitaker’s immediate recusal from any involvement with the Special Counsel investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” -Pelosi, Schumer et al letter
House Republicans are bracing for an ugly internal battle now that they lost the majority. While Democrat Nancy Pelosi is confident she will take her throne as Speaker without drama, the battle for minority leader—the leader of the House GOP caucus, is shaping up to be more of a mess. Already, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California plan to run for the spot. McCarthy was Paul Ryan’s top lieutenant and is thought to be in the best position, but Jordan’s stock has risen among conservatives as co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus.
—MEANWHILE, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming announced she plans to run for House Republican Conference Chair, challenging Washington Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, creating even more discord in the new minority caucus leadership elections.
President Trump has endorsed Nancy Pelosi to be the next Speaker of the House. In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump said Pelosi deserves to be chosen as the next speaker and even offered to help her get her old job back with some Republican votes to get her across the finish line, if needed. Trump congratulated Pelosi on Tuesday night after it became clear her party would win back control of the House.
—QUOTABLE: “In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats…If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!” -Trump tweet
Nancy Pelosi agrees with Hillary Clinton: there can be no civility until the Democrats regain political power. The wannabe next House Speaker told late night host Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night that, “when we win, you will see evidence” of more civil political discourse from her side. Colbert had asked whether Pelosi has seen any evidence that Democrats are taking the advice of many to lower the temperature of the political discourse coming from her political allies.
—QUOTABLE: “There has been a lot of talk lately about lowering the temperature of political discourse…Have you seen evidence of that?” -Colbert
—QUOTABLE: “Well, I think when we win, you will see evidence of that. Because when we do win, we will have, as we open the new Congress, we will honor the vows of our founders, E pluribus unum, from many one…It’s OK to disagree in the marketplace of ideas, that’s exciting, but it is also important to find solutions that unify and not divide.” -Pelosi
If Democrats take power, Americans will just have to deal with the consequences. That was the admission of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at a New York Times event over the weekend when she was asked how the American people should regard the economic fallout from liberal policies should her party take power. If there’s economic “collateral damage” from leftist climate change policies, “so be it,” she said. The comments come against the backdrop of a 49-year low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.
—QUOTABLE: “We owe the American people to be there for them, for their financial security, respecting the dignity and worth of every person in our country, and if there is some collateral damage for some others who do not share our view, well, so be it, but it shouldn’t be our original purpose.” -Pelosi