When You’ve Got Hapless Enemies, It’s Good to Keep Them (But Not to Say So)

With Democratic special election losses, long knives are out for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that she represents the literal old school of the party. What is surprising is that she has an unlikely defender in the form of President Trump, who wants Pelosi to stay on because she’s such a good punching bag.

“I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out,” Trump tweeted after the Republican Party held on to its House seat in Georgia.  “That would be very bad for the Republican Party – and please let Cryin’ (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck (Schumer) stay!”

There’s no question that Trump benefits from the haplessness of his enemies, and that Pelosi is as hapless as they come. What’s unusual is that Trump is so eager to actively select who his enemies are. The statesmanlike thing would be to say noble and milquetoast things to the press and cackle at the folly of your foes behind the scenes. Trump, of course, doesn’t follow that kind of protocol, and he has no problem cackling in public. This is a constant irritant to his critics, but it solidifies his ironclad connection to his base, which loves to see Trump break the rules.

Trump is shrewd enough to recognize that he benefits greatly when people recognize that there is no difference between his public and private face. Pelosi is the one who plays by the old rules, and everyone, including the president, can see how far that’s gotten her.

(Defense Department photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos used with permission.)


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