is not a nice man. He’s a mean, obnoxious bully. For his entire career, first as a phony businessman, and now as a phony president, he’s persevered by beating, berating, degrading, humiliating and personally insulting anyone who dared challenge him.
That’s how he made it in the shady world of Manhattan real estate. And that’s how he bulldozed his way through the 2016 Republican primary. So what if there were 16 more seasoned Republican politicians running against him? Despite having zero political experience himself, he destroyed them one by one with his nasty nicknames: “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco” and “Low-Energy Jeb,” among others.
Once in office, Trump belittled Republican leaders of Congress the same. Line ’em up and beat ’em up: , , , , , , . They once represented a totally different Republican Party. But Trump battered them so badly they flipped from never-Trumpers to Trump acolytes.
How fitting in this “Me Too” era, then, that after taking down all those cowardly men one by one, it took a woman to finally put Trump in his place. Trump met his match when he met Speaker (D-Calif.). He’s tried to roll out his mean, old bag of ugly tricks against her. But he’s failed. She knows how to embarrass him, befuddle him, rattle him and get under his skin. She’s outsmarted, outfoxed and outclassed him every time.
It started at an Oval Office meeting on the border wall between Trump, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader (D-N.Y.) on Dec. 11, 2018, shortly after Democrats won back the House and Pelosi was reelected Speaker. Trump began by belittling Pelosi’s hold on power: “Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now.” Whereupon Pelosi shot back: “Mr. President, please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats, who just won a big victory.” Back on the Hill, she told members of her caucus: “It’s like a manhood thing with him.” Adding: “As if manhood could ever be associated with him.” Score: Pelosi 1, Trump 0.
Their sparring continued at the State of the Union. When Trump uncharacteristically called for ending the “politics of revenge,” Pelosi leapt to her feet, locked eyes with him, and gave Trump an extended hand clap that became an instant meme. Score: Pelosi 2, Trump 0.
Next came the double showdown over infrastructure: one meeting where Trump promised $2 trillion, followed by a second where, realizing he couldn’t deliver, Trump stormed out and blamed Pelosi for scuttling the deal by accusing him of conducting a “cover-up,” insisting – LOL – “I don’t do cover-ups.” Pelosi calmly responded by noting that Trump was just throwing a “temper tantrum.” Score: Pelosi 3, Trump 0.
Clearly obsessed by his inability to get the best of Pelosi, Trump chose the Normandy American Cemetery on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day on which to attack her again, blaming her for criticizing him while he was on foreign soil. Even though he’d used his time on foreign soil to call Schumer a “creep,” a “fool,” the mayor of London a “stone cold loser,” and Pelosi a “nasty, vindictive, horrible person.” For her part, Pelosi, also in Normandy, respecting the sacred ground they were on, refused to respond. Score: Pelosi 4, Trump 0.
For the first time, Trump also gave Pelosi a nickname: “Nervous Nancy.” Which just shows how befuddled he is by her. Please. If there’s one thing Pelosi’s not, it’s nervous. Score: Pelosi 5, Trump 0.
Press is host of The Bill Press Pod. His Twitter handle is @BillPressPod. He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”