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Nancy Pelosi has the whip hand

‘I’m not going to talk about her’

It was a maiden moment in the annals of the White House yesterday. Kellyanne Conway is claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ‘treats me as she might treat her maid or her pilots or makeup artists or her wardrobe consultants’ because she refused to discuss infrastructure with her yesterday. Conway went on to play the elitist card, asserting that Pelosi is apparently too ‘rich’ to bother talking with the hoi polloi. The only problem being, of course, that Conway is herself no piker when it comes to accumulating the green stuff — she lives in a $7.7 million mansion in Northwest DC and is said to be worth around $39 million, which isn’t enough to cover a private plane but does go some distance towards buying immunity from the ordinary cares of life — unless, of course, your chosen line of work happens to be trying, as far as possible, to clean up the daily messes left behind by Trump.

For her part Pelosi refused to get into invidious comparisons. ‘I’m not going to talk about her,’ Pelosi remarked at her weekly press conference, an institution that has fallen into abeyance in the Trump administration, where the lecterns in press rooms are gathering dust. Meanwhile, Conway’s husband George, the conservative lawyer who has made a name for himself by dissing Trump, is simultaneously supporting on Twitter Pelosi’s claim that Trump is engaged in a cover-up.

Others are chiming in. His former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson quietly testified to Congress, disclosing once more that he wasn’t sure what, if any, values Trump holds near and dear, and indicating that Russian president Vladimir Putin rang rings around him when they met in Hamburg. Trump showed what he truly values, which is payback. He responded to Tillerson’s divulgences by calling him ‘dumb as a rock.’

The problem for Trump is that he is fighting on so many fronts that he’s unable to contain the overall damage. He can bray about refusing to work with Democrats, but he needs to get the new USMCA trade deal with Mexico and Canada passed as well as exuding the debt limit. For now Pelosi, who seems to derive malicious pleasure from her encounters with Trump, has the whip hand as she needles him about his ‘temper tantrums.’ Trump enlisted his aides today, during an announcement of a fresh $16 billion bailout to farmers, designed to mitigate the harm inflicted by his purblind tariff policies, to attest to his calm and pacific temper, traits that have been seldom associated with him but that he insists are a hallmark of his leadership. He also reiterated his personal assessment that he is ‘an extremely stable genius.’

Trump has been buffeted by the two court cases that he lost this week, not to mention the vote of the New York state legislature to open up his tax returns to congressional scrutiny. He was also enraged by a congressional subpoena for his former communications director Hope Hicks. His actions have made it abundantly clear that he simply cannot afford for his finances to be exposed to public scrutiny, lest he be exposed as something less than a billionaire or as a launderer of foreign monies — or both.

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