House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her usual press conference Thursday, replete with all of the D-list showmanship we’ve come to expect from her. Yet there was more to her performance than her usual hyperbolic doomsday prognosticating. Throughout the typical self-assured head nodding and extensive over gesticulation to the point that one might be forgiven for believing she was serving as her own American Sign Language signer, her diatribe was peppered with a new, more urgent, sense of outrage at, surprise, surprise, Donald Trump.
On the heels of President Trump’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, Speaker Pelosi has, yet again, been pushed to the brink of breakdown by the temerity of Trump. This time, the cause of her consternation is Trump’s answer to Stephanopolous’ hypothetical question, if a foreign entity offers information on a political opponent, do you listen or call the FBI? Trump’s response, “"I think maybe you do both." This response has riled the already tense Speaker beyond mere exasperation.
To be clear, no foreign entity has any place in U.S. elections and any foreign interference needs to be immediately squashed and reported. Of course you alert the FBI to any foreign actor in U.S. politics. But that’s the problem with hypotheticals, there’s no context. President Trump doesn’t do himself any favors by answering hypotheticals from a hostile press. If they refuse to report actual events accurately, it’s folly to believe they would take care with a hypothetical.
Hypotheticals aside, Pelosi’s outrage, exaggerated as it may be, betrays a much deeper hypocrisy by which she, and her caucus, live. We are still, as a nation, poring over the ashes of the Russia collusion hoax. A two year-long, massively destructive, endlessly distracting investigation into the nothingness of the Trump campaign’s links to Russia. And what was the genesis of the collusion hoax? Christopher Steele’s Trump-Russia Dossier. Written by Christopher Steele, a foreign intelligence agent. Who paid for the Steele Dossier? Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
Pelosi failed to mention her party’s, and by extension, her own, complicit behavior in allowing a foreign intelligence agent to influence a U. S. presidential election. The Speaker failed to speak regarding her complicity in a foreign intelligence agent’s fantasies being used to secure FISA warrants against Carter Page and others, thus enabling the spying on a presidential campaign. Pelosi’s outrage is entirely fake and self-serving, and, to borrow a phrase she loves, beneath the dignity of her office.
“What-aboutism,” the means by which many justify their own actions based on similar wrong actions of another, is never helpful to anyone in the long run. Just because the Democrats have a long, demonstrable history of engaging foreign actors to aid in elections, does not justify anyone else doing it. The president should be clear that he would not engage a foreign actor to collect dirt on an opponent, and, if such dirt falls in his lap, he should alert the FBI.
Still, Nancy Pelosi’s faux outrage is a hypocrisy as grand as any she has displayed during her rather excessive tenure in Washington. She should focus on cleaning up her own back yard rather than having very public meltdowns at press conferences.