Via the Washington Post:
In his first two years in office, President Trump operated without a clear check on his power. With his party controlling both houses of Congress, he issued demands from his bedroom in the form of early-morning tweets, and legislative leaders got in line. He rarely was personally confronted about his untruths and misstatements. And he mostly ignored congressional Democrats, choosing to spar instead with journalists.
That all came to a crashing halt Tuesday. In an extraordinarily heated public fight with the nation’s top two Democratic leaders, the combustible president confronted for the first time the enormity of the challenge he will face over the next two years: divided government.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the likely next speaker, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called out Trump’s falsehoods. They exposed him as malleable about his promised border wall. They lectured him about the legislative process and reiterated to him that he lacked the votes to secure the $5 billion he seeks for the wall.
The Democrats also needled him for his party winning Senate contests last month only in reliably red states. They provoked him by highlighting the softening of the economy and the gyrations in the stock market. And they extracted from him a claim of personal responsibility for the current budget brinkmanship.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Trump said. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”
During 17 extraordinary minutes of raised voices, pointed fingers and boorish interruptions in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Pelosi and Schumer introduced Trump to Washington’s new dynamic.
And no apparent progress was made — perhaps a harbinger for what lies ahead.
“Unfortunately, this has spiraled downward,” Pelosi interjected midway through the televised meeting.
Once she returned to the Capitol, the speaker-in-waiting told some of her Democratic colleagues that she felt like she had been in “a tinkle contest with a skunk” — and even questioned the president’s manhood, according to a Democratic aide in the room.
“It’s like a manhood thing for him,” Pelosi said in reference to the wall, according to the aide. “As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”
Is there any doubt as to what will be the cold opening for SNL this week? Alec Baldwin, please report to make-up.
What’s extraordinary about this is that no one from the White House press office or staff moved in to hustle the TV crews out. Usually they’re herded in, given a moment to get a few shots while the president and his guests nod and smile, then get shuffled out before they get down to business. Not this time. My guess is that Trump wanted to the show the world who was in charge and it promptly went south, he got owned, and by a woman. Yeowch.
By the way, I think Mike Pence’s Secret Service code name is Potted Plant.