Two of the women most in the news these days delivered blows to two of the nation’s most powerful and increasingly unpopular men. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually pulled off on January 16 what might be the only good thing to result from the government shutdown: the possible cancellation of President Trump’s State of the Union address.
Pelosi released copies of a letter she sent to the president saying that because of the Trump shutdown, the annual State of the Union, scheduled for January 29, should either be postponed or sent to Congress in written form.
One can only imagine the president’s reaction when he found himself outmaneuvered by the woman who had engineered passage of the Affordable Care Act and passage of the biggest economic stimulus package in US history—accomplishments that dwarf Trump’s real estate deals.
Meanwhile, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led four freshman congresswoman in a nationally televised hunt all over the Capitol for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The GOP leader ran all over Capitol Hill to avoid the women who were publicly holding him accountable for not acting to end the government shutdown. They chased him from his office to the cloakroom and onto the Senate floor from where he apparently fled on the Senate subway to another office building in DC.
“He seems to be running away from us,” Ocasio-Cortez, 29, the youngest female member of Congress in history, said live on national television. She represents sections of Queens and the Bronx in New York City.
Though the language Pelosi used in her letter to Trump was polite, her deputy leader, Steny Hoyer, said on MSNBC yesterday that it was unquestionably a “dis-invitation” to the president from giving the speech.
Stephen Miller, Trump’s anti-immigrant right-wing adviser, has been spending weeks writing drafts of the Trump speech, which they had hoped would be a nationally televised propaganda coup at what has become a solemn annual event—the State of the Union held every January. The misogynist in the White House is reportedly none too happy about being bested by a powerful female leader of the US Congress. Denying him TV time is just about the worst thing one can do to this president.
Accompanying Ocasio-Cortez in the McConnell chase was Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois, an African American who was elected in a district that is 80 percent white, and Reps. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut and Katie Hill of California. All of them freshmen lawmakers, they said they would not sit by as the government shutdown continues.
The House, they noted, has passed Republican bills that would reopen the government but McConnell has refused to present them to the Senate.
It wasn’t just the powerful women of Congress giving Trump trouble yesterday. His own lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, was also on television saying things that must make Trump more than a bit uncomfortable.
Giuliani made news when he claimed that he never denied the president’s campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, only that the president himself was not part of any collusion. He told CNN that he didn’t know, for example, whether campaign manager Paul Manafort was working with the Kremlin during the campaign!
The Giuliani remarks were followed by almost all the networks showing at least ten different tweets from Trump claiming that there was no collusion by him or his campaign with the Russians.
After a day like Wednesday, perhaps Trump and the Republicans will learn that things like midterm elections and a free press are not things they can ignore forever. But, of course, to expect that is probably hoping against hope.