Trump trash talking Pelosi ahead of his State of the Union address on Tuesday

SHARE Trump trash talking Pelosi ahead of his State of the Union address on Tuesday
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President Donald Trump l Jan. 25, 2019. | AP Photo/Susan Walsh

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has been trash talking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the run-up to his second State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“Nancy Pelosi will be begging for a wall, she’ll be begging for wall. She will say, ‘‘Mr. President, please, please give us a wall,’” Trump said on Thursday.

Well, the only thing that will be wall-to-wall on Tuesday will be the visuals of a powerful Pelosi staring down at Trump when he delivers his speech from the House podium.

Pelosi will be looming over Trump’s shoulder sitting above the president and next to Vice President Mike Pence. That puts her in almost every shot. I’ll be watching to see if Trump will turn around to in a sense speak directly to her, a bit of showmanship to see if she will react.

Pelosi, for her part, is fluent in deadpan.

The theme this year is “Choosing Greatness,” a senior administration official told reporters on Friday, with Trump to make an appeal to “break decades of political stalemate.” It’s a play on Trump’s 2016 “Make America Great Again” and 2020 re-elect “Keep America Great” slogans.

Not a lot to decode here. It’s a barely subliminal message: Choosing greatness is choosing Trump.

Time for context. The speech takes place as:

*The nation just endured a record 35-day partial federal government shutdown over the refusal of Congress to give $5.7 billion to Trump for a border wall, the one Mexico was supposed to pay for.

*Pelosi forced Trump to reschedule the annual address from the original Jan. 29 date because it would have taken place during the shutdown. Trump said he was coming anyway. He backed down when Pelosi noted he wasn’t officially invited because the House had yet to pass the proper resolution to invite him.

*That win solidified Pelosi’s standing going forward as a tough tactician and strategist. All that hand wringing a few weeks ago about whether some Democrat rebels could deny Pelosi the speakership? Ancient history.

*A group of 17 House and Senate Democrats and Republicans are in the midst of negotiations over border security to avoid another shutdown on Feb. 15.

*Pelosi said Thursday – underscoring her position – “There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation.” Trump reacted with his “begging” taunt.

*Pelosi has said Democrats will support lots of money for border security – drones, agents, physical barrier improvements where needed, more immigration judges, lots of high-tech stuff – but no line item for Trump’s wall.

*Sensing where this train was heading, Trump in a preemptive move already declared the gang of 17 efforts a “waste of time.”

Trump has said he may go ahead and declare a national emergency and grab federal money for the wall, setting the stage for a lawsuit. Trump, starting his third year of his presidency, has yet to accept that Congress is a co-equal branch of government.

The speech, the senior Trump White House official said on Friday, will deal with:

*Trade policy. Trump will ask Congress to approve his NAFTA replacement agreement, a revised deal with Mexico and Canada that may attract some Democratic support.

*Rebuilding infrastructure. There is bipartisan support for this.

*Lowering the price of prescription drugs.

*National security, with the crisis in Venezuela to be discussed.

*Immigration. The White House briefer said Trump will appeal for bipartisan cooperation. He doesn’t have solid GOP support if it comes to another shutdown over his wall.

There will be begging for a wall at the State of the Union – but not from Pelosi.

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