And one “gift” they won’t give him…
Democrats did hand Trump “wins” on a number of the President’s pet projects while they were also busy impeaching him: a big trade deal with Canada and Mexico, the establishment of the Space Force as a branch of the military, which itself is part of a bipartisan defense budget deal that apparently contains no big challenges to the President’s priorities, because it hasn’t spurred him–at least not so far–to throw any kind of tantrum. The only wish-list item missing from what Democrats are handing Trump this Christmas season seems to be a giant infrastructure deal.
But why? Why gift the President “wins” when they’ve finally gotten him looking like a “loser”?
We see a lot of Liberals attacking Democrats especially on Twitter these days precisely about that. And while we understand the desire to let the President stew in his own juices for a while, we totally don’t get it. If you object to the trade pact with Canada and Mexico on its merits, OK. But if you agree with most Democrats who voted for it, that it’s an overdue and necessary updating of NAFTA (and if Trump insists on calling it something else who cares?), then why object to it on the basis of the timing or more generally just because it gives Trump something he desires?
We think there almost couldn’t possibly be a better time to give the President those few key gifts he’s wanted for a long time. As a political strategy, it accomplishes at least two things:
- It shows Democrats aren’t the “Do Nothing Democrats” Trump has been making them out to be. That they aren’t singularly focused on removing him from office. That they can legislate and investigate and impeach at the same time.
- And perhaps even more importantly, it takes almost all of the fanfare and bluster we’d normally see from the President out of everything they’re “giving” him because everyone–including the President–is obsessed with impeachment, not that other stuff. Yes, the President did mention both USMCA and Space Force at his rally last night, but he spent much much less time touting his own accomplishments than disparaging his political opponents and ripping into his impeachment. USMCA was supposed to be the President’s crowning achievement on trade. But there’s probably been less coverage of it than a non-deal “deal” with China that happened at a slightly more precipitous time. And before you go blaming the media, that includes Trump himself. A quick scan of his Twitter feed recently: 24 Tweets related to impeachment, 1 about USMCA. And that 1 says nothing about the benefits of the deal; just accuses House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of trying to take some credit for it passing in the House, when “she doesn’t even know what’s in it”, and how all the glory should be his. (To his credit, Trump’s chief trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, worked very long and hard to hammer out a deal that would be truly bipartisan. That’s got him taking some heat from Republicans even. Part of why it passed in the House 385-41. And if you want to see Democrats and Republicans agreeing on something for a change, you can watch about 3 hours of debate by clicking here.) As for Space Force, even we were only vaguely aware something happened with it until we looked into it, and we dig through everything. (BTW, unless we get pulled away for major breaking news, we’ll have more on Space Force in our next column).
Meanwhile, the President stomps his feet and demands on Twitter:
Of course he does, and that’s one thing Pelosi’s being cautious about giving him. She’s hanging on to the Articles of Impeachment until she knows what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is going to do with them. And according to procedure, he can’t do anything until she delivers an authorization to finance and conduct a trial to him. Trump says that’s because she’s afraid of “Shifty” Schiff, and “the Bidens” and “the Whistleblower” testifying. (Of course that scenario would also probably mean Trump’s folks, whom he refused to allow to testify before the House, would also have to testify).
But McConnell has made it clear he doesn’t want much of a trial at all, and doesn’t want anyone testifying. Just combo opening/closing statements and then a vote. That’s the outcome Pelosi is trying to protect against.
This from Pelosi at a briefing with reporters (which you can watch by clicking on the photo at the top of the page:
“Our founders suspected we could have a rogue President. I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue President and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.“
Of course, that’s a slam on McConnell, not the framers. But also: why not?
McConnell meanwhile, described the impeachment from the floor of the Senate as a “mess” that:
“Will be dumped…on the Senate’s lap”.
Pelosi’s position has put Republicans in an odd position, because unless they’re just defending the President blindly (and there are plenty of those), their main argument has been Democrats have been moving too quickly with this impeachment, and now they’re suddenly being forced to do a 180 and whine about Democrats being too slow.
Reality is, with some variations (and maybe with a lack of imagination on our part,) there are probably only 3 ways this could go:
- Pelosi delivers the Articles of Impeachment to Majority Leader McConnell soon. McConnell holds the non-trial trial he’s outlined several times now in media interviews. (Which is what Trump’s really after too, despite what he says). Trump is acquitted.
- Pelosi delivers the Articles not so soon. Not until McConnell agrees to how it’s going to go down, and opens it up to some testimony from people we haven’t heard from publicly before. Trump is still acquitted, but the American people get to hear lots of stuff. And it’s big ratings.
- Pelosi delivers the Articles even more not so soon. Federal courts (most likely eventually the Supreme Court) rule on whether the folks Trump is refusing to let testify are compelled to by the Constitution. If yes, and McConnell still refuses to hear them, the House can open things back up and question them. This option probably involves the most risk for both sides. For McConnell: that people he doesn’t want to testify would have to testify. For Pelosi: the American public (and frankly, people in general), are not fans of long delays.