Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in American politics and President Donald Trump’s most potent Democratic nemesis. The pair have sparred repeatedly, but the gloves really came off Wednesday.
Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, started the day with an emergency meeting of House Democrats, as the possibility of impeaching Trump swirled over Capitol Hill.
After the meeting, she said the Republican leader was “engaged in a cover-up” – a likely reference to his alleged obstruction of justice with respect to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Even though Mueller said he could not conclude that Trump actively attempted to thwart the probe, or conceal evidence of possible cooperation with Russia during his campaign, Democrats are unconvinced and are leading multiple investigations into his conduct.
Trump first hit back on Twitter, decrying a “Witch Hunt” against him and his administration, but his anger apparently got the better of him.
Then, he apparently shut down planned talks with Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer on an infrastructure initiative.
‘I Don’t Do Cover-ups’
And all of a sudden, journalists were hastily assembled in the White House Rose Garden for an unscheduled appearance by the 72-year-old president.
Trump did not hold back.
“Instead of walking in happily to a meeting, I walk in to look at people that just said that I was doing a cover-up. I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump boomed.
“Here is the bottom line – There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. (…) This whole thing was a takedown attempt at the president of the United States,” he said.
Trump then said he told Pelosi and Schumer: “So get these phony investigations over with.”
‘I Pray for The President’
Shortly thereafter, the Democratic leaders convened their own press conference.
Pelosi – whose slow, exaggerated clap for Trump at his last State of the Union went viral – said the president “took a pass” on collaborating with her party.
“And it just makes me wonder why he did that. In any event, I pray for the president of the United States and I pray for the United States of America,” she said.
Schumer chimed in on Trump’s appearance: “To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop.”
Trump, not exactly known for letting others have the last word, clapped back on Twitter.
“So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country,” he wrote.
“They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40M and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work,” he added.
And with a final flourish, he addressed Pelosi: “Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!”