First there was the “clapback” during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February that earned U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the moniker “Queen of the Condescending Applause.”
Then there was the time Pelosi, the veteran Democratic congresswoman from California, privately questioned Trump’s “manhood.”
In a gathering of Democratic members of the Steering and Policy Committee on Capitol Hill, Pelosi was talking about a contentious meeting with the president over funding for his border wall and said, “It’s like a manhood thing for him. As if manhood could ever be associated with him. This wall thing.”
CNN received its information from an aide in the room where the Democrats had gathered.
But the crowning blow came last week, when the caustic, outspoken 79-year-old lawmaker had this to say about the billionaire real estate developer from New York City who had never run for public office before being elected president in 2016:
“I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country. … Maybe he wants to take a leave of absence.”
Pelosi did say she prays for Trump and the nation and that she’s concerned about his well-being.
In response, the president shot back with this:
“She’s a mess. … Crazy Nancy. … I watched Nancy and she was all crazy yesterday.”
As for him, President Trump declared, “I’m an extremely stable genius.”
The comment triggered this tweet from the speaker: “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.”
The clash between the two leading officeholders was triggered by Trump’s decision to abruptly walk out of a meeting in the White House with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer.
The president was unhappy that Pelosi had said he “is engaged in a cover-up” with regard to congressional investigations of Trump’s ties to Russia.
“I don’t do cover-ups,” fumed Trump, who is fighting subpoenas for testimony by current and former White House officials, the Associated Press reported.
But Pelosi wasn’t content just directing her verbal fire at the president.
When Trump walked out of the meeting with the Democratic leaders saying he couldn’t work with them so long as Democrats continued their investigations of him, Kellyanne Conway, a senior counselor to Trump, asked Pelosi if she had a response.
“When she was finished I said, respectfully, ‘Madam Speaker, would you like to address some of the specifics the president talked about?’” Conway told Fox News.
Conway said Pelosi shot back, “I don’t – I talk to the president. I don’t talk to staff.”
The counselor said the speaker had treated her like “her maid.”
Trump’s mistreatment of staff and members of his Cabinet is legendary. Indeed, on Thursday he called former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “Dumb as a rock.” The insult was prompted by Tillerson reportedly telling members of Congress in a closed-door meeting that Russian President Vladimir Putin was better prepared than Trump at one of the meetings they had.
It is noteworthy the president had high praise for Tillerson when he nominated him to be secretary of state.
And if all that isn’t enough to give the Democratic candidates for president an adrenaline rush, consider the latest revelations about Trump’s political hypocrisy.
After spending a lot of the time on the campaign trail in 2016 harshly criticizing then President Barack Obama for playing golf, it turns out that Trump, who owns golf courses around the world, makes Obama look like an occasional duffer.
“I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to play golf,” Trump told his gullible supporters.
That was a huge hole-in-one lie.
According to the Huffington Post and other media outlets, the president’s golf habit has already cost taxpayers at least $102 million in extra travel and security expenses.
And next month, the Huffington Post reports, Trump will visit Ireland, where he has a golf course on the west coast.
According to the Huffington Post, in the two years Trump has been in office, U.S. taxpayers have spent $81 million for the president’s two dozen trips to Florida; $17 million for his 15 trips to New Jersey; another $1 million so he could visit his resort in Los Angeles and at least $3 million for his two days in Scotland last summer – $1.3 million of which went just for rental cars for the massive entourage that accompanies a president abroad.
By comparison, it cost the Obama family $112 million in travel over eight years.
So here’s the deal: Mahoning Valley Congressman Tim Ryan, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, is scheduled to participate in a town hall session on CNN on June 2. The event will be moderated by CNN anchor Poppy Harlow.
Thus far, Ryan’s candidacy has received limited national attention and he isn’t considered a top tier contender. But he can easily change all that with a headline-grabbing performance.
Going after Trump with guns blazing is a surefire way to get the press attention he desperately needs.
It is instructive that Ryan did enjoy national coverage when he first challenged Pelosi for Democratic leader in the House – he was trounced – and then launched a bid for speaker that fizzled before the voting occurred.
Ryan believes his willingness to take on a political icon like Pelosi has endeared him to Democrats who want to see changes in the party leadership.
However, he has yet to show he can take on Trump the way Pelosi is doing.
Ryan has seven days to come up with a plan of attack that will cause the president to blow his cool.
Being verbally berated by Trump is a badge of honor for any Democrat seeking to challenge him in 2020.