When President Donald Trump stormed out of infrastructure talks with Democratic leaders and gave them a Rose Garden ultimatum to drop all congressional oversight of his administration or give up any chance of working with him on legislation, everyone from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to Fox News speculated that it was a pre-planned stunt.
But if it was a stunt, it is unclear exactly what it accomplished for the president. On the contrary, as Politico reporters John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett noted on Tuesday evening, the whole episode may have been a massive gift for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
In recent weeks, Pelosi has been facing increased anger from within her own caucus by certain members who want to open up impeachment proceedings against the president immediately. It remains an open question whether Pelosi actually opposes impeachment personally, but there can be no denying she wants to advance the issue slowly compared to some of her caucus’ more strident voices.
But thanks to Trump’s tantrum, Bresnahan and Everett explained, “she can argue that what they’re doing is already working. Trump clearly doesn’t know how to respond to the barrage of Democratic investigations; they’re winning in the courts and he’s throwing fits.” All of which would allow Democrats to unify behind advancing the investigations on her terms, tabling impeachment at the very least until she believes it is prudent.
Some Republicans concur that this is the case, with one senior GOP official telling Politico, “It’s a disaster. It plays right into her hands.”