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Pelosi-Trump feud will be epic

November 18, 2018

Donald Trump is going to hate spending the last two years of this term dealing with a Democratic House. They won’t pass any of his pet projects, and they will hound him relentlessly about his tax returns and various other shenanigans from past and present.

But if there’s a silver lining in this cloud for him — and a source of endless entertainment for us — he will be able to focus on a new villain. That would be the presumed speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. She checks all the boxes for his Twitter tirades, and you can bet he will exploit every one of them.

Pelosi is a woman, a liberal and a Californian. Trump doesn’t have a lot of respect for any of those categories, so the combination will provide him plenty of reasons to unload on her. Plus she’s famous, having served as speaker before. Except for Hillary Clinton — who’s out of power — she’s the most well-known Democrat in Washington, far more familiar than the top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer.

If Pelosi were edged out in the speaker’s race by a lesser-known Democrat, say Rep. Adam Schiff, it just wouldn’t be the same. (Though to be fair, Trump would have a lot of fun with word-plays on Schiff’s last name.)

No, Pelosi is just about perfect for this role, and it’s one that Trump needs. He loves to focus on the shortcomings of other politicians and point out how they stand between him and what he wants to do for his faithful supporters. It was hard to do this over the past two years, with a Republican House and Senate, and everybody presumably on the same page.

True, that didn’t prevent him from occasionally insulting House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as worthless hacks who refused to board the Trump train. Or even his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

It was bizarre to see that kind of intra-party bickering playing out in public, but deep down you knew that Trump didn’t despise them. It was more of a temporary tiff, like something you might see in a junior-high cafeteria.

With Pelosi, however, the disdain is legit. Like they say in the wrestling commercials, “This time, it’s personal.”

And give Pelosi credit — she’s tough and she can dish it out, too. She’s been fighting men, and usually Republican men, her entire political career. Trump is just the latest one in that lineup.

Once Ryan hands over the gavel, she and Trump will say a few nice words about “working together” for the American people. That spirit will last a day, if it makes it that long.

These two powerful politicians have dramatically different visions for the country, and the mood in Washington is about as toxic as it’s ever been. Pelosi and her fellow Democrats don’t just disagree with Trump on, say, a border wall. The very concept of it offends them. On top of everything, the specter of impeachment for collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice hangs over everything.

The last two years in Washington were chaotic, but the next two should be even nastier and crazier. Neither person will back down or give the other a break. Get ready for some sharp exchanges of elbows under the basket.

Thomas Taschinger, TTaschinger@BeaumontEnterprise.com, is the editorial page editor of The Beaumont Enterprise. Follow him on Twitter at @PoliticalTom

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