Nancy Pelosi went so far as to protect Joe Biden from Donald Trump’s anticipated “fossa” during the debate phase that she made a bit of it possible elsewhere.
The House’s top Democrat said during a press conference on Aug. 27 that the former Vice President should refuse to go one-on-one with the President this fall because Trump, in her assessment, is likely to just “belittle the debates should be about.” “
“It’s not about excavating the skull of someone who has no respect for the office they hold,” she said from the Capitol.
Regardless of intent, Pelosi̵
With an official government transcript and video footage, Pelosi gave her Republican opponents days of citable material to turn against the Democratic candidate just as the race was getting closer. Biden was confronted with the question in television interviews held in the hours following her presentation and was still repeating the same answers almost a week later – yes, he’ll be happy to discuss Trump.
“I look forward to debating the president and I will state as clearly as possible what I believe we must do to bring this country back and rebuild it better,” said Biden on a reporter’s question below in Delaware on Wednesday. “And I’m looking forward to the debate.” (The Biden campaign resolved Pelosi’s disagreements and stated that they agreed on “their views on the President’s conduct”.)
On Sunday, the Trump campaign circulated a letter signed by the President’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to the Presidential Debate Commission, asking Biden to “provide written assurance” that he would appear for the dispute. Early last month, they petitioned the group to postpone the planned schedule, a request they vetoed.
“Pelosi, the master strategist, didn’t screw it up,” a senior Trump campaign official theorized. “She lays the foundation for Joe Biden to withdraw from the debates.”
When asked about the Trump campaign’s use of Pelosi’s stance to put pressure on Biden, the speaker’s spokeswoman referred to an interview she gave after her press conference in which she clarified that her testimony was purely a reflection on Trump was intended.
“Why I said not to argue about him has nothing to do with Joe Biden. Joe Biden is going to be great, ”Pelosi said on MSNBCs The beat with Ari Melber. “My concern was that the president has shown no respect for his office and I do not expect that he will respect the debates for that office because he has shown no respect for giving people the right to vote without intimidation. “
For Pelosi on the Hill observers, this statement has been vetted, and most say it genuinely believes Trump is an unworthy sparring partner for Biden. Some allies also admit that they may have tried to protect him from the president’s unpredictable nature.
In interviews, some Democrats winced at her remark, suggesting that Pelosi – even viewed by her critics as a ruthless strategic actor – might have followed their disdain for the president directly into a misstep.
“It’s not strategic,” said a Democratic adviser on condition of anonymity, the rift. “She hates that motherfucker.”
In the past, Pelosi has vigorously protested the suggestion that she despises Trump, adamantly telling a reporter in December, “I don’t hate anyone. We don’t hate anyone. Not anyone in the world. Do not blame me. “
Despite their efforts to improve public relations, it is common knowledge that the two leaders have had what is perhaps the most miserable relationship between a President and a Speaker of the House of Representatives in recent times. Pelosi and Trump haven’t spoken directly to each other since October 2019 when she and Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) left a White House meeting with the President claiming he had a “breakdown.”
Before the Trump-Ukraine revelations forced their hand, Pelosi suggested that Trump’s behavior does not deserve the weighty, solemn reprimand of impeachment. “The impeachment is so divisive for the country that I don’t think we should go this route unless there is something so convincing, overwhelming and non-partisan because it divides the country,” she said in March 2019. “And he is just not worth it. ” it.”
Quite a few Democrats heard echoes of the impeachment saga in Pelosi’s concerns about Trump’s worthy of something as important as a presidential debate. “She says Biden shouldn’t even be on stage with this guy,” said the Democratic congressional assistant.
At least one member of the Democratic caucus wholeheartedly endorsed her position that Trump did not deserve the right to appear in the matchup.
“Right now you just can’t have a serious presidential debate with this guy,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) told The Daily Beast, referring to Trump. “It would be a fight over food. And he’ll be the one who tosses all the food. “
“It would serve to legitimize this guy who stopped telling the truth a long time ago and just bet everything on these alternate facts, conspiracy theories and lies that he repeats over and over again,” he said.
Other Hill Democrats defended Pelosi, instead arguing that she might actually have helped Biden meet expectations. Another Democratic worker noted that “it is possible that she is trying to help the Trump campaign screw up the game of anticipation, just as it did before the conventions when they led people to believe that Biden was a whining, senile old man unable to coherently speak sentences, a description that fits Trump’s convention appearances much better. “
“It wasn’t a mistake,” said a third former Democratic Hill executive who was well versed in both chambers. “The only thing going on here is she has so little consideration for the President that part of her doesn’t want Biden to go through this. He’s just going to spend all of his time in the gutter, ”the source said. “It is what it is.”
Despite Biden’s insistence that he will debate, top Trump allies made it clear that they were not ready to let go of it. And with good reason, said Ed Rollins, chairman of the pro-Trump Great America PAC. Her comments “reiterated the message that we pressed that he would not be able to be on the campaign,” he said. “I think it might have helped that premise.”
On a call with reporters Wednesday morning, Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, found that the latest talk about Biden, who may be skipping the television event, did not come from his campaign, but “by the Speaker of the House, the most senior Democrat in this nation.”
The first debate, scheduled for September 29 in Cleveland, Ohio, is expected to be an important moment for the Democrats. Chris Wallace, host of Fox News, will moderate, said the Debate Committee. And some outside of the democratic groups have stated that they are open to the news.
“We can certainly consider an increase [our] Spend online while people watch, ”Guy Cecil, Chairman of Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA, told The Daily Beast. “Especially online, so that we can advance our target universe, for example to request your vote.”
Biden also announced that he has already started getting ready.
“I started to prepare by going through what the president said, several lies he told,” he said after his address in Wilmington. “What I’d like to have is a crawler at the bottom of the screen, a fact-checker when we speak.”