House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has clearly gotten under President Donald Trump’s skin this week and deeply rattled the commander in chief. And on Thursday, Trump really revealed how much it’s getting to him.
He called the speaker “crazy” on Thursday at a White House press event. He also insisted that, despite her and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s claims, he wasn’t angry and didn’t throw a tantrum the previous day when he torpedoed talks for an infrastructure overhaul because of the Congressional inquiries of his administration and finances. Trump may have thought this was the ultimate power move, but Pelosi clearly ended up with the better argument out of the blow-up — the president looked petty while Democrats appeared ready to work for a better country. And Pelosi’s claim that Trump was conducting a cover-up was both obviously true and apparently deeply offensive to the president.
So on Thursday night, he tweeted out a heavily edited video in an attempt to insinuate that Pelosi has been slurring her words and that her mind is failing. It appeared to be a part of a wider attack against Pelosi from the right wing, which has included sharing bogus videos of the speaker on social media.
It also followed a familiar pattern. Back in the late summer and early fall of 2016, Trump and his supporters began fueling rumors that Hillary Clinton was deathly ill and hiding it from the country. (She did catch pneumonia and faint at a public event, but the claims that she was terminally sick were obvious nonsense, given that she’s alive to this day.)
During the race for House speakership, Trump actually endorsed Pelosi, apparently thinking she’d make for a suitable adversary. But now, he can’t stand that a woman has power over him, can essentially veto his legislative priorities, and oversee investigations into his past. It seems he’s coming to feel just as much animosity toward her he felt toward Clinton. So it’s unsurprising that he would glom on to rumors that she’s secretly weak.
CORRECTION: This story initially indicated that the video of Pelosi was “doctored”; however, while the video was heavily heavily edited to give a distorted impression of Pelosi’s performance in the press conference, it does not appear the audio was altered. Other videos shared of Pelosi during the day were, in fact, showed down to distort her voice, as the Washington Post reported.