It would be fair to say that President Trump and House speaker Nancy Pelosi aren’t on the same page, politically. They haven’t always been too far apart – once, both were mainstream Democrats – but, as the saying goes, they’ve been on a journey since then. Now the president has created waves by claiming Pelosi – and, by extension, a big part of our legislature – are being controlled by the far Left. How much truth is there in this claim?
- Speaking to journalists on Saturday, President Trump said that Nancy Pelosi is “being controlled by the radical Left, which is a problem, and you know she’s under total control of the radical Left. I think that’s a very bad thing for her and I think it’s a very bad thing for the Democrats.”
- It’s certainly true that the current crop of congressional Democrats includes several – mostly new members – who’re way to the left of the traditional Democrat mainstream. New York motormouth, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is the best known of these, but there are others who’re just as radical.
- The question is, are they controlling Pelosi? On the face of it that’s hard to imagine. Pelosi has been in Congress since 1987, holds a lot of power as the Speaker of the House, and represents one of the safest Democrat seats in the country. It’s hard to see what pressure a group of young radicals could put on her.
- On the other hand Pelosi herself has tacked a long way left over the course of her congressional career – and she seems to be picking up speed. In 2001 she voted for the Patriot Act, but just four years later she voted against reauthorizing some of its key parts.
- Pelosi has been given a 92% score by the American Civil Liberties Union for her voting record on “progressive” causes. She was a founder member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, placing her solidly on the left of the party, but left in 2003 to take up the post of minority leader.
- In 2006 Pelosi voted against the Secure Fence Act, an earlier attempt to close off illegal immigration across the Mexican border. The sections of that barrier that were built didn’t reduce overall illegal entries, but they did prove that border jumpers were deterred by strong barriers. They found alternative routes that didn’t have barriers or had barriers that were easier to overcome. A barrier along the whole border would have a real effect, and Pelosi knows it. That may be why she’s so determined to block funding for the wall.
- The truth is that Pelosi isn’t being controlled by the radical Left – she’s too experienced and powerful for them to control her – but it’s easy to see why President Trump might think so. She’s moved far enough left herself that you can’t really tell the difference anymore.