Littwin: We know Pelosi is deep into Trump’s head, but what exactly is she looking for?

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 05: Speaker Nancy Pelosi gestures to President Donald Trump during the State of the Union address in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 5, 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

We can all agree that Nancy Pelosi is driving Donald Trump crazy, by which I mean, of course, crazier than usual. We can agree, too, and that no one has ever gotten this far into his head — not Comey, not Mueller, not anyone.

If you watched Trump’s Roosevelt Room news conference the other day — if you’re keeping score, that would be the bizarre news conference the day after Trump stalked out of the meeting with Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on infrastructure, not the bizarre one in the Rose Garden the day of the meeting — you saw how crazed that crazy can be.

Trump has spent the last few days on a Pelosi-inspired rampage. And it’s not just his recycled tirade that Pelosi has “lost it,” that “she’s not the same,” that she’s “a mess,” that she can’t even understand Trump’s new North American trade agreement.  

He made the exact same move against Hillary, remember? It may have worked once, but it’s fair to guess that Pelosi has more game than Clinton.

The truly bizarre moments came in the seven minutes Trump spent trying to convince people that he didn’t have a temper tantrum — as Pelosi had called it. I’m talking about him actually calling on three staffers who were at the brief infrastructure meeting to vouch for his calmness/sanity.

You ever see The Big Lebowski? “I’m perfectly calm, Dude.” You ever see/read The Caine Mutiny? Someone took Trump’s strawberries.

The question I have is not whether Trump had a tantrum — does quietly seething while stalking out of a meeting qualify? —  but what exactly Pelosi’s game is.

Is she driving Trump crazy simply for our amusement? I hope this doesn’t make me a bad person, but I do find it funny as hell.

Is she driving Trump crazy in order to reinforce that the self-described extremely stable genius is neither stable or a genius? I mean, she’s hitting hard — questioning his manhood, calling for a family intervention, advising him to take a leave of absence. This is a feud like none I’ve ever seen. It has gotten to the point where Trump and his TV lawyer are left to retaliate by retweeting doctored or heavily edited clips of Pelosi. And we’re knocking Facebook for not policing itself?

There’s some thought that Pelosi lured Trump into a trap — that she intentionally enraged him by accusing him of a cover-up just before the infrastructure meeting to make sure that Trump would walk out.

Here’s the thinking: It’s hard for Democrats to turn down a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, after all, even knowing that it would provide Trump with a large victory heading into 2020. But if Trump walks away? If Trump is saying he’ll never work with Pelosi so long as the House continues all these investigations into various examples of Trumpian malfeasance? Who loses then?

As far as I know, Pelosi’s plan may include all of the above, but I have an idea that there may be something more at work here. And it may have less to do with Trump than with potentially mutinous Democrats.

Pelosi is the one person who can hold off — at least for a while — House Democrats from starting an impeachment process against Trump. To impeach or not impeach has been the only real question in Washington since the redacted release of the Mueller report. I know the polls say that people don’t want to see Trump impeached. The polls also said, in a similar pre-impeachment stage, that they didn’t want to see Nixon impeached.

Meanwhile, the pro-impeachment side in the House grows daily. Joe Neguse and Diana DeGette just joined the team. The list of presidential hopefuls calling for impeachment is also on the rise — although not yet including John Hickenlooper or Michael Bennet.

Pelosi doesn’t say that Trump, the cover-up king, isn’t deserving of impeachment. In her weekly press conference Thursday, she said, “Let me be very clear: the president’s behavior, as far as his obstruction of justice, the things that he is doing, it’s in plain sight, it cannot be denied — ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice …”

Her concern is all about strategy and whether Trump, like Bill Clinton before him, could wind up winning an impeachment battle. But that’s a difficult argument to maintain. If Trump should be impeached —as most Democrats say — then the right thing, it seems to me, would be to impeach him.

And so, understanding this dynamic, what Pelosi is saying instead is that Trump wants to be impeached. Seriously. Here’s the quote, as reported by several outlets, from a conversation she had with top Democratic lawmakers: “He wants to be impeached so he can be exonerated by the Senate. His actions are villainous to the constitution of the United States.” This is a quote she wanted to be leaked.

It’s the briar patch argument — that Trump’s refusal to cooperate with all the House committees, his refusal to allow key witnesses to testify, his refusal to turn over documents, his refusal to turn over his tax returns — are all part of the game and that Democrats shouldn’t take the bait.

Is Trump really crazy enough to want to be impeached? I doubt it. My guess is he doesn’t turn over documents and doesn’t want people to testify because he’s afraid that either or both could lead to impeachment. He may be a brinkmanship freak, but I don’t think any president, even Trump, wants to be stained by an impeachment even if there’s little chance he could be convicted by a Republican-controlled Senate.

So how does Pelosi win a standoff with fellow Democrats? It’s pretty clear, isn’t it? By constantly needling Trump as Dems cheers her on. By winning the daily battles with Trump as a way to avoid all-out war. By playing Trump’s game better than Trump does.


  1. I think NP is playing it correctly…she is getting her caucus together, and she is managing the message…trump has taken over the media, and NP is using this to her advantage…the fake video, trump’s ongoing melt downs, the obvious cover up, then there is Moscow Mitch and his merry band of russian sympathizers, helping the coverup…then Bill FuBarr, who has just been given WAY TOO MUCH POWER, from the illicit and criminal president…we are really in trouble…if NP and the Dems can’t finish what they have started…so, Mike…I really appreciate your writing, and political coverage in Colorado, and the Nation…..
    I live in the wilds of western Colorado, maga county, where republican men are men, and the sheep are worried…I pay attention to politics, so my group of friends don’t have to….and they trust me, and my perceptions about what is going on, and you, sir, are a fine source of information….

  2. Who is living in whose head? Looks like Donald Trump lives in every Democrat head, every media head, and every politician/s head in USA. And 63 million Americans voted for him in 2016, Mike. He did not have to buy our votes, but we spent a few bucks to buy books, CDs, DVDs, and learned to watch U-Tube Videos, on internet, which cost us nothing more then connection cost. We were not too cheap, to learn who he really is, and was. He had 70 years to watch and learn about writers like you, and Dave Perry , Sentinel. Cannot think of a single article you have written, or Dave Perry wrote, that does not mention President Donald Trump. Too bad he does not measure up to your standards, but all you really know about him, is he made two “locker room talks” many years ago, that were taped without his knowledge, and held to be used, if he ever switched from Business, to campaign for office. I don’t care how many floozies he may have groped. That has noting to do with his Presidential decisions, and they have been very beneficial to my family, and peers. I got back the paper worth of my residence, that policies of prior president reduced by $129,500 in 2 year period, due to open borders, lack of security, and not vetting who came across our borders. Also made for uncomfortable year with 13 bachelors, from Sonora Mexico, living next door, trashing property, and pulling down whole neighborhood, with all the others. Many left by 3010, but effects lasted for too long. KEEP AMERICA ON GREAT PATH IN 2020 AND AFTER.

  3. Buford, Think you have that a bit wrong. President Donald Trump just tasked DOJ Mr. William Barr to find out where the Witch Hunt started and by whom. And this should take care of certain individuals on House Oversight Committee voting to declare Mr. Barr in contempt of Congress. There are whole lot of folks who have contempt for Congress, as seen in polls. They are even lower than car salesman. And 63 million Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and there will be more.
    JUST WHAT IS HE COVERING UP? NAME ONE THING. He actually is transparent, and all he does is there to be seen. What you see, is what you get.

  4. an Unfortunate article, i really expect more from the CO independent . Pelosi is no less disgusting that Trump, and to focus on their school-yard drama is just sad when the policies they both support are destroying the country. Trillion Dollar war budget has full support pf both parties, while Medicare for all, free college,, Green New Deal, etc. will NEVER happen under Pelos or Trump.
    I shouldn’t be a surprise, Trump and Pelosi both work for the same Donors. What is a surprise is to see a paper i support ignore all this and focus on the banal , gossipy garbage of who is in who’s head. Who F-in cares!

  5. DM, Trump paid for his own campaign, and is not taking a salary. He cannot be bought, and donors have no control over him. Reason they hate him, and have from the day he announced 15 June 2015. Were you not aware of that? He donates his salary every quarters, and states it on net. And there is no such thing as free college. It is paid for, and I am tired of paying for it, for others. I paid for my own courses, taken while in service, over 26 years and after to fill in what I needed to document. I taught in military, and supervised, teaching others others, over 26 years 18 days. (Actually instructing, since you cannot teach, if the student does want to learn). And I do not remember any request for funds for Pence.

  6. I’m not sure what Pelosi is looking for, but she’s more than likely found amyloid plaques and beta tau proteins.

    Not even the regular rubes can mount a cogent defense of Comrade Trump at this point, not that they ever could.

    And now I see we’re back to the oft debunked both sides BS.

    It’s only a matter of time before Republican complicity reaches critical mass as a political liability…then all the strawmen in the world won’t be able to justify Modern Conservative policies.

    If Republicans thought 2018 was tough on them, they should wait until Trump gets done imploding for a little perspective.

  7. Golly…it sure looks like Bob just threw Comrade Trump under the bus.

    My guess is the flop sweat level at the WH just went to Nixonian levels.

    Mitchell…er…Barr can probably actually see his reputation crumbling in real time.

  8. Frank i was that was true, but Trump has been a Fraudster his entire life and he is using his office to Curry Favor with the Saudis for himself and his relatives. Joe Biden did the same for his son in Ukraine after the CIA toppled their government, but to do it with the country behind 9-11 is especially disgusting. To assume he can’t be bought just because he already has a lot of money is wishful thinking. As far as free college, college was free for decades and it was that generation that built the country we had . Did you pay $50K a year BTW for tuition? The model we have now of “college for profit” is destroying an entire generation.
    Always amazes me when people get offended by free college, estimated at 200 billion dollars, but don’t blink an eye at Trillion dollar war budgets, endless war, and regime change . We are ALL paying for that every single year. Free college is in investment in a better future for everyone , the entire country benefits. Endless war is bankrupting us with nothing to gain, yet you will never see any argument in Washington about how much to spend on that .

  9. Wrong again. Donald is talking to the King, and now his son. But Saudi’s have been our allies in WWI, and WWII. President George W. Bush, learned to fly F102A Interceptor aircraft in Texas National Guard, in 1960s-70s era, and one of the Princes of Saud Family, Saudi Arabia also learned by flying in same ATC unit, at the same time. I was Manager of MAP program in Texas, teaching Greeks and Turks, Flight Line Supervisors and Instructors, of F102A 1n 1967-78, for year. Had them living in same, two story barracks, and my FTD instructors, taught them in classrooms, in mornings, taking them to flight line to get actual hands on experience to maintain 2 aircraft. I was also Supply Officer (as a TSGT USAF) Supervisor, and ordered in two trainers, which we down modified. We were not going to train them on nuclear able, aircraft, and the planes they worked on, had been de-modified to same capability.
    ——-For your info, there are over 40 senior aged Princes, in Saudi Arabia, and only one of them funds the mosques and Inman’s. He also funds the radial Muslims in country, against the King. So you really need to know more about that country, before making such opinions so public. Just as we have radicals in USA, and have had in every administration, who work against the government in power, especially when Republicans have the Oval Office. Just as now, with those demanding impeachment, and folks you, who do not like the President. Kind of stings, does it not? I served 26 years 18 days, not intending to, but I liked to work with and for leaders who were warriors, and led from the front. Not the whiners, losers, who try to spring Socialism onto us. I fought against that, and worked with many who had face to face experience of that. Have a good day, and do get more info about Saudi Arabia and its people. There will always be war between the Sunni, and the Shite, by the way.

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