Nancy Pelosi was calm and controlled, almost scripted, as she announced—to no one’s surprise—that the House will begin drafting articles of impeachment.
Then a reporter got under her skin. And she let loose, against President Trump and the journalist.
It was a rare spontaneous moment in what has increasingly seemed an orchestrated kabuki dance. In fact, Trump now wants to speed up the performance.
“If you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,” the president tweeted.
He also accused the Democrats of trying to impeach him “over NOTHING.”
The Twitter comments made clear that Trump, like just about everyone else, now fully expects the House Democrats to impeach him. The only remaining questions are the timing (the Dems are hellbent on finishing before Christmas) and the scope (stick with Ukraine or throw the kitchen sink into the actual articles).
Pelosi had taken the rhetorical high road, announcing the next steps on impeachment “with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America.” She also made these points at a news conference before walking off.
Some reporters shouted questions, which is customary, and the House speaker suddenly stopped in her tracks.
James Rosen, the former Fox News correspondent now with Sinclair Television, was asking: “Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker? Because Representative Collins…”
Pelosi snapped back: “I don’t hate anybody.”
ROSEN: Representative Collins –
PELOSI: I was raised Catholic—
ROSEN: The reason I ask is…
PELOSI: I don’t hate anybody in the world. Don’t you accuse me—
ROSEN: I did not accuse you—
PELOSI: You did. You did.
ROSEN: I asked a question.
PELOSI: You did.
Rosen finally got out his question about the Judiciary panel’s ranking Republican: “Representative Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing this simply because they don’t like the guy.”
Pelosi, walking back to the podium, unloaded on Trump as a “coward” for his handling of gun violence and the dreamers. Then she said: “As a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.”
With that, Pelosi completely obscured everything she’d said before.
I wouldn’t have asked the original question like that, using “hate,” but her reaction was totally out of proportion to the query, in which Rosen was attempting to quote a GOP congressman. They had tangled a couple of weeks ago, when Pelosi responded to a politely phrased question by calling Rosen “Mr. Republican Talking Point.”
Trump later chimed in with his review: “Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit.”
Emotions are clearly rising in this impeachment mess. Kevin McCarthy unloaded on Pelosi at a presser after hers.
Some liberals have been slamming law professor Jonathan Turley for testifying against impeachment–he’s been inundated with threatening messages and demands that George Washington University fire him. Turley had testified before the same panel in favor of impeaching Bill Clinton.
Some conservatives have been skewering pro-impeachment professor Pamela Karlan for stupidly doing a play on words involving Barron Trump’s name, opening herself up to attack (from Melania, among others) that she was dragging the president’s son into the public arena.
Joe Biden went off on a voter who challenged him on Ukraine and his son Hunter, calling the guy a “damn liar” and challenging him to a pushup contest as well as an “IQ test.”
It’s as if the impeachment battle is polluting an already toxic political atmosphere as we hurtle toward the inevitable outcome that everyone already expects.