Trump ignores tradition, refuses to congratulate Pelosi on midterm win
Previous presidents all congratulated new speakers from opposing parties in their State of the Union addresses.
Still licking his wounds after Speaker Nancy Pelosi steamrolled him during the government shutdown, Trump on Tuesday failed to congratulate her on retaking the speaker’s gavel — bucking a long-standing tradition from presidents who came before him.
In 2011, after Republicans retook the House in a GOP wave, former President Barack Obama congratulated newly minted Speaker John Boehner on his win.
“Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner,” Obama said in his 2011 State of the Union.
In 2007, months after Democrats won control of Congress in a Blue wave, then-President George W. Bush congratulated Pelosi, who had just become the first female speaker of the House in history.
“Tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own — as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words: Madam Speaker,” Bush said in his 2007 SOTU address.
Bush went on to further praise Pelosi.
“In his day, the late Congressman Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr. from Baltimore, Maryland, saw Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum. But nothing could compare with the sight of his only daughter, Nancy, presiding tonight as Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Bush said. “Congratulations, Madam Speaker.”
And in 1995, months after Republicans retook the House in another GOP wave, then-President Bill Clinton congratulated Newt Gingrich, who had just won the speaker’s gavel.
“We are here in the sanctuary of democracy, and once again, our democracy has spoken. So let me begin by congratulating all of you here in the 104th Congress, and congratulating you, Mr. Speaker,” Clinton said in the speech.
Trump, however, made absolutely no mention of Pelosi’s comeback, starting his dark speech instead with a jab at the Democratic party, pejoratively calling it the “Democrat Party.”
Pelosi, for her part, has started off her second go-around as speaker strong.
She held Democrats together during Trump’s reckless shutdown, and ensured that the government reopened and federal workers once again received their paychecks — without Trump getting a cent for his wall.
In fact, Pelosi may have helped end the shutdown by refusing to allow Trump to give his SOTU address if the government remained shut down. Trump was upset that he wouldn’t get to grandstand in front of the cameras; it might have even pushed him to reopen the government.
With all of Pelosi’s winning, Trump and his wounded ego just couldn’t muster the decent thing to do: Congratulate Pelosi on her speakership win.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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