Trump’s Unhinged Behavior On Full Display At Meeting With Pelosi

As the vultures continue to circle above the White House, the President continues to lash out.

President Trump met yesterday with the House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership as well as several top committee Chairpersons, the meeting went about as you’d expect. No, wait, let me take that back, it was much, much worse than that:

At their first meeting since the impeachment inquiry began, President Trump disparaged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), prompting Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to leave the meeting after what she described as the president’s “meltdown.”

Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted that Pelosi had the “meltdown” and called her “a very sick person.”

Hours after their contentious White House meeting, Trump suggested Pelosi was mentally ill and told people to “pray for her.”

“Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her ‘upstairs,’ or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!” Trump tweeted

Earlier he tweeted a photo of the meeting where Pelosi is standing while speaking and everyone else is seated. The White House said it was evidence of her “meltdown,” but Pelosi supporters said it showed she was standing up to the president, literally. Pelosi made the photo the main image for her Twitter account.

Trump’s attack on the speaker of the House are in contrast to the many kind things he’s said about her in the past. He seemed to stick up for her when she was vying for votes to become speaker earlier this year, and after she secured the gavel he said she deserved a “great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished.”

More from Politico:

The reality of Washington in 2019 is this: A meeting between President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will very likely end with someone abruptly walking out of the room.

Wednesday’s ugly encounter marks the third time in less than nine months that a meeting between two of the nation’s most powerful leaders has been derailed after a barrage of insults from the president.

Trump accused Democratic leaders of sympathizing with communists in Syria and slammed Pelosi as “a third-rate politician,” before ripping a series of targets including Jim Mattis, his own former Pentagon chief.

While Trump also makes clear that he doesn’t care much for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), it’s Pelosi who clearly angers the president most — a fury that has only grown since Democrats launched their fast-moving impeachment inquiry of Trump.

While Trump spent most of his first two years in office and the early months of 2019 treating newly re-installed Speaker Pelosi with kid gloves, it marks the latest development in a relationship that has rapidly gone downhill. In December 2018, for example, on the eve of the record-breaking government shutdown that lasted until the end of January, Trump went on a nearly 20-minute rant about his border wall in a meeting with Pelosi and Schumer which only guaranteed bad future relationship between the two sides. Later, during a January meeting that reportedly ended when Trump began loudly and angrily banging his hand on a table and then walked out without engaging in any substantive talks. The same thing happened in May during a meeting that was supposed to be all about infrastructure. In the ensuing time, he has launched frequent, and increasingly vicious and irrational attacks against Pelosi and the House Democrats, attacks that have not surprisingly gotten more common as impeachment has become more and more likely. As Politico puts it these attacks are ” textbook examples of dysfunction that would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high, both for them and for the nation.”

If anything, this latest incident is worse than all of those together:

The new chapter in their feud had Pelosi and other top Democrats exiting a White House meeting Wednesday complaining Trump resorted to name-calling and personal insults. Their departure abruptly ended an attempt by congressional leaders in both parties to discuss Trump’s troop withdrawal from northern Syria.

During the latest session, Trump laced into Pelosi, launching into a “nasty diatribe” that culminated in him calling her a “third-rate politician,” according to Schumer.

Pelosi shot back after the meeting, saying Trump had a “meltdown” and was “rattled” by the House’s overwhelming bipartisan vote earlier Wednesday to condemn the president’s actions in Syria.

Trump later countered in a series of tweets that it was in fact Pelosi who had a “a total meltdown,” adding, “Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her ‘upstairs,’ or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country.”

Trump also tweeted a photo of the meeting with the caption, “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” Pelosi apparently didn’t mind the picture; she made it part of her Twitter profile.

According to Democrats, Trump began Wednesday’s meeting with a “lengthy monologue” on Syria, and then “bragged about his ‘nasty’ letter” to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which the White House released afterward. Trump even distributed copies of the letter at the meeting.

At one point, “Trump suggested that there were communists in Syria and said Democrats would like that,” said a senior Democratic aide, although lawmakers said that comment was related to the Kurds.

Pelosi responded that Russia has always wanted a “foothold in the Middle East,” and blamed Trump for now giving one to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “All roads with you lead to Putin,” Pelosi declared, a Democratic aide said.

Trump later told Pelosi, “I hate ISIS more than you do,” to which Pelosi replied, “You don’t know that.”

During one exchange, Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for the mess in Syria, although part of his insult was aimed at Pelosi, too.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) then jumped in to back Pelosi: “This is not useful.”

As Trump took aim at her, Pelosi stood up to go. She began to sit back down until Hoyer suggested that Democrats should leave, according to a Democratic source familiar with the meeting.

The two top House Democrats then left, followed shortly afterward by Schumer, who had briefly stayed behind to press Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the fate of ISIS prisoners in Syria.

Here are the President’s tweets about the meeting, which are even more unhinged than the reports about his behavior with the leaders of a co-equal branch of government:

As with Trump’s letter to Erdogan, there’s very little that one can actually say about this incident that would not be a repetition of things that have already been said about this President. Taken together with other examples of his recent behavior, though, it seems clear that the ongoing impeachment inquiry, as well as the near-universal negative reaction to his actions in Syria, have thrown Trump for a loop and that he is lashing out in response in much the same way he has in the past. The difference this time, of course, is that he is doing it as President of the United States and the person through him people all around the world judge the United States by how he acts. More importantly, how he acts has a real impact on the daily lives of Americans, the safety of Americans abroad, and the national interests of the United States.

I am not a medical professional so I am not going to say definitively that the President is somehow mentally impaired. That is for an appropriate doctor to judge after examining, not a blogger. That being said, this incident in particular, combined with other examples of the President’s recent behavior and reports about the environment inside the West Wing, make it clear that Donald Trump is, at least in the colloquial sense “losing it” as the pressures around him, which now include not just an impeachment inquiry but also the first real international crisis of his Presidency, one which he clearly caused through his own actions, mount, What this means for the future is unclear but I don’t think it’s going to be good news.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Politicians, Presidency, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s fear. It takes some strength to continue to function when you’re terrified. He’s panicking.

    The one useful thing Trump’s ever done was run from the draft. Imagine this pussy in combat.

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  2. mattbernius says:

    This photo has already become yet another Rorschach test. The president’s defenders are using it as proof of how hysterical Pelosi is.

    (Nevertheless, she persisted)

    Pretty much everyone else looks at the body language of everyone on PoTUS side and sees a very different story (the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs appears to be considering whether or not he can crawl under the table to escape… apparently taking a page out of Comey’s hide in the drapes strategy).

    Of course, the President’s defenders will say that’s because they are so embarrassed for Pelosi (I think the embarrassment part is probably right… they’re just misidentifying the source of the embarrassment).

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    “Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her ‘upstairs,’ or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!” Trump tweeted

    The projection is a confession.

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  4. Kathy says:

    This Sunday Trump should remind the world his exaggerated and unhinged diatribes have finally put an end to professional NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. This terrible attack on our country is finally over!

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  5. Argon says:

    Almost equally scary are those many supporters (80%+ of the GOP) who think he’s in control and showing dominance.

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  6. Joe says:

    @mattbernius:

    This photo has already become yet another Rorschach test. The president’s defenders are using it as proof of how hysterical Pelosi is.

    At some level, no one outside that room (absent some recording of the event) can know who was melting down or who was controlling, though I am willing to put big money on Pelosi’s version of the story. But everyone in that room, including all of Trump’s people, know what happened and this can’t make them feel good about where they are.

    On a very different note, after examining the picture, I find it stunning in this day and age (though not for this Administration) that there are only 2 women “at the table,” Pelosi and someone obscured to her left. And there are no people of color. Where the fork are we, 1980?

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  7. dmichael says:

    @mattbernius: Your point that this picture is a Rorschach test is a very good one. I expand on it only to say that those who see this as Pelosi being hysterical (I use that word intentionally) see this from the perspective of a male with certain older views about women. In other words, why doesn’t she know her place and not talk back to the man? Look at the faces of the men (no women at the table) and tell me what you see.

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  8. James Knauer says:

    @Joe “Where the fork are we, 1980?”

    Correct. The white men presently still in power came of age in a completely different world they still think exists today. The political leadership ends up sounding like a gang of crazy uncles let downstairs only at Christmas.

    It has stagnated the U.S. for thirty years, and counting. The fake “president” is their nadir. Well, at least until the last one is let out of prison, eventually.

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  9. mattbernius says:

    @James Knauer:

    The white men presently still in power came of age in a completely different world they still think exists today.

    Correct, though it’s worth noting that the lack of diversity in leadership is another feature rather than a bug within the Trump Administration. Their hiring practices has reverse three decades of increasingly diverse cabinets:

    https://www.univision.com/noticias/politica/trumps-cabinet-is-far-from-reflecting-the-racial-diversity-of-the-united-states

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  10. DrDaveT says:

    Is anyone else here familiar with the short story “Charles”, by Shirley Jackson? That’s exactly what we’re seeing in every public statement by Trump about his interactions with other people. It would be hilarious if it weren’t terrifying and sad.

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  11. charon says:

    Doug;

    I am not a medical professional so I am not going to say definitively that the President is somehow mentally impaired. That is for an appropriate doctor to judge after examining, not a blogger.

    The big problem/fallacy with this position, the so-called “Goldwater Rule” is that even if Trump were willing to be examined (he probably is not) there is no way he would let any bad results be viewed by the public or by anyone he does not control.

    Meanwhile, there are abundant video clips of his behavior. You do not need to be a zoologist to know when you are looking at a giraffe.

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  12. Guarneri says:

    Are you sure CNN isn’t OTB??

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/its-all-just-bunch-bullhit-cnn-manager-laments-networks-decay-hidden-camera

    By the way, have we stopped bombing Kentucky??

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  13. charon says:

    @charon:

    1) Shrinking vocabulary, not just words but of commonly used phrases and thoughts.

    2) Slurring words, also inappropriate substitutions e.g., oranges for origins.

    3) Pereveration, repeating the same few thoughts.

    4) Balance problems and gait problems, foot dragging because of loss of control of foot muscles. He has taken to using Melania as a cane.

    5) Dystonia, head jerks, shoulder dips, torso jerks because of muscle spasms.

    6) Behavioral changes, functions like judgment and prioritizing are gone now.

    7) Memory issues.

    That is a lot of symptoms that all are consistent with one class of diagnosis – dementia, probably some type of frontotemporal.

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  14. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri: There’s an open thread for unrelated things, you know. Even crazy things from zero hedge.

    Are you suffering from mental decay? Charon just posted a handy list of symptoms you might want to ask your loved ones to evaluate you on.

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  15. steve says:

    Drew- Those are the same people who faked a video by falsely adding people dressed as pimps and had to pay out thousands of dollars because of th lies in the video and others. Heck, even the Glenn Beck site called them out on the false stuff they were perpetrating. You would have to actively look to try to find a more discredited source.

    Steve

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  16. Kathy says:

    I suppose there will be a thread on the “ceasefire” agreed to in Syria. Link.

    Briefly, the 120 hour “ceasefire” is meant for Kurdish troops to clear out of the Turkish “safe zone” in northern Syria. In my book, that’s called a surrender of northern Syria to the invading Turks, not a ceasefire.

    So in essence the Trump “administration” just sold out the Kurds again.

    What the f**k is he getting out of it?

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  17. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    As to what Trump is getting out of it, the safest bet is to forestall the release of very damaging evidence held by Putin.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am not a medical professional so I am not going to say definitively that the President is somehow mentally impaired.

    My professional diagnosis is that trump is completely over the top whack-a-doodle looney tunes. You can take it to the bank.

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  19. mattbernius says:

    @Guarneri:
    Hey, look it’s a proud Trump defender who keeps avoiding anything to do with Turkey and the President’s signing off on the Ethnic Cleansing of former Allies.

    I assume your ongoing silence on that topic a sign of your deep support of that in exchange for those sweet sweet tax cuts and owning the libs.

    I mean it totally lines up in your support for increasing the caging of children for tax cuts and the locking out of refugees out of the US for tax cuts.

    All hail Guarneri, proud supporter of ethno-nationalism and empty foreign policies that weakens the US for tax cuts.

    Oh, and pwning the libs. Can’t forget that.

    PS I can’t wait — given your focus on Biden’s appearance of conflicts of interest — to hear your defense of Trump choosing to host the G7 at his Doral property. I mean that in no way presents the appearance of conflict of interest.

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  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    @mattbernius:
    That whole pwning the libs thing isn’t really working out, is it? This is central to the mindset of the Trumpaloon – they actually thought this was all going to be some triumphant march with them on floats waving at crowds of crying liberals. And now it’s libs all pointing and laughing. And some of them are just smart enough to realize there’s not going to be a last minute save. Now it’s bunker time: crawl into a hole with the sad little Mussolini wannabe and rage as the walls close in.

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  21. Kingdaddy says:

    [Repeating a comment on another post…]

    Meanwhile, at the National Review, top stories include the following:

    Ranking the States by Regulation
    Progressives Are All Too Willing to Cut Constitutional Corners
    The Little Boats That Save Our Day
    Making Disparate Impact Deliver Fairness
    San Francisco Blacklists 22 States over Pro-Life Laws
    A Democrat, and Social Conservative, Challenges Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    And, to be fair, there are these:

    Trump Used the Options He Had in Syria
    U.S., Turkey Reach Ceasefire Agreement in Syria Conflict

    One is just the news, and the other an attempted justification for the unjustifiable. (No, the Turks were not going to attack US special operations forces deployed in Syria.)

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  22. Gustopher says:

    @mattbernius:

    Hey, look it’s a proud Trump defender who keeps avoiding anything to do with Turkey and the President’s signing off on the Ethnic Cleansing of former Allies.

    I assume your ongoing silence on that topic a sign of your deep support of that in exchange for those sweet sweet tax cuts and owning the libs.

    Now, now, I’m sure Big Businessman Drew did big business and figured out how to short sell the Kurds before their stock went down. So it’s all good.

    I mean it totally lines up in your support for increasing the caging of children for tax cuts and the locking out of refugees out of the US for tax cuts.

    Why do you assume there’s a trade off? Could be a win-win for Guarneri.

    All hail Guarneri, proud supporter of ethno-nationalism and empty foreign policies that weakens the US for tax cuts.

    Weakening the US dollar does wonders for our exports, so weakening the US geopolitical standing is bound to do wonders for something.

    Oh, and pwning the libs. Can’t forget that.

    Totally pwned the Kurds.

    PS I can’t wait — given your focus on Biden’s appearance of conflicts of interest — to hear your defense of Trump choosing to host the G7 at his Doral property. I mean that in no way presents the appearance of conflict of interest.

    I have run out of snark.

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  23. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    they actually thought this was all going to be some triumphant march with them on floats waving at crowds of crying liberals. And now it’s libs all pointing and laughing.

    Gotta disagree, Michael. Inside the Bubble, it’s still a parade every day. You overestimate how much external feedback can penetrate. It’s The Truman Show on a titanic scale. (Choice of adjective deliberate.)

    “The Emperor’s New Clothes” has a very different ending if the King can’t hear the small boy.

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  24. de stijl says:

    So much winning!

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  25. grumpy realist says:

    @Guarneri: Zerohedge is well-known as being a website used to disseminate Russian propaganda and “news stories” that it wants to get circulating.

    I’m surprised that you pay any credence to them. “Gullible” is a good word, too. Do you also answer letters from Nigerian princes who need to move money?

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  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:
    I never quite believe that people really believe their delusions. In fact, the way @Guarneri and his pals carefully disappear for long stretches and avoid certain topics entirely is consciousness of weakness. Also, they actually don’t defend Trump, they just attack anyone telling the truth. So again, they know.

    There’s the scene in Godfather 2 when they’re at a big gala in Havana supposedly unconcerned about Castro? And five minutes later they learn Batista’s already on a plane and they all panic? Do you think those people dancing and drinking really didn’t know, or they knew but refused to acknowledge reality? I think it’s about 60% the latter.

    If Guarneri and the other trolls really didn’t know they’d argue the issues, instead they hurl scat and yell ‘squirrel!’

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  27. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “Charon just posted a handy list of symptoms you might want to ask your loved ones to evaluate you on.”

    As the lawyers say, assuming facts not in evidence.

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  28. wr says:

    @DrDaveT: ““The Emperor’s New Clothes” has a very different ending if the King can’t hear the small boy.”

    Or if he just has the kid executed.

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  29. de stijl says:

    @wr:

    Telediagnosis is bad medicine. Just let the behavior speak for itself.

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  30. Wr says:

    I was only referring to the notion that Drew has “loved ones.”

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  31. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I think that gives some of them too much credit.

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  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: I dunno. It looks pretty much like government has always looked as far as I can see. Even during Obama’s term, pictures mostly only had one person of color in them and frequently had no women. Not much change from 1980 for sure, but I don’t recall seeing any dramatic differences between now and 5 years ago. Same cast, same dog and pony show.

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  33. Joe says:

    Just to pull a couple of names off the top of my head, Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Madeleine Albright
    Condolezza Rice
    Loretta Lynch
    Susan Rice
    Jacob Lew
    Julian Castro
    Jeh Johnson
    and, uh, who was that SoS; yeah, Hillary Clinton.

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  34. Teve says:

    Obama’s first cabinet had seven women, and some black, Hispanic, and Asian guys.

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  35. Tyrell says:

    I read a book about one of my favorites – Lyndon. It seems that he did a lot of things like this “quib pro qwo” with other countries and with his fellow members of Congress. Back then they called it “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine” or “Tit for Tat”.
    Johnson was able to get a lot of things done that today would have Pelosi and Nadler all over him worse then they are Trump. The difference is back then that there was not this political network news that just obsesses over this stuff. Anyone who thinks politics is some polite gentleman’s club is naive. Johnson used some of the bureaucracy too. Look at J. Edgar Hoover over at the F.B.I. He had stuff on Johnson and half of Congress. Johnson was ready to use it.
    Of course today many of the Democratic party would not let Johnson in the front door.

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  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:
    LBJ did not use taxpayer dollars meant to be spent on a friendly nation’s defense, and try to leverage that for his own narrow political advancement. That’s not back scratching, that’s treasonous, it’s immoral and it is a national defense nightmare.

    Do you not realize that Erdogan has that conversation on tape? Do you not realize that this means Erdogan was handed massive leverage over the so-called president of the United States?

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  37. An Interested Party says:

    @Guarneri: Oh, you’re referring to this pathetic “sting”…idiot…

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  38. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If Guarneri and the other trolls really didn’t know they’d argue the issues, instead they hurl scat and yell ‘squirrel!’

    I wasn’t actually referring to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Troll Adventure; I was thinking more of Trump’s actual support base. For those millions of voters, he’s still owning the libtards every day and sticking it to the [insert disliked group here] while bringing back real jobs and teaching China a lesson.

    The trolls here are perfectly aware of the facts; they just care more about trolling than they do about what’s happening to America. Paul L., bless his heart, probably really believes the nonsense he posts. (His accurate take on police violence is a dead giveaway; a troll would prefer to pick at the scab.) Our Lady of Senility in Vermont is probably equally sincere.

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  39. mattbernius says:

    Man, I’m frankly disappointed @Guarneri and @Nickle J-Frost haven’t immediately come here to declare that — now that Jan Brewer has given them their talking points — that we’re all clearly hypocrites for cheering for Pelosi after the way people decried Brewer for that performance she and her finger gave when she met Obama on the tarmac in AZ back in 2012.

    Ya’ll are slippin on your whataboutism.

    Here Jen… I mean @Nickle Frost, here’s what another double named poster at the time, I’m sure it probably still applies:

    @J-nos wrote:

    There should be some respect for Obama based on his office. But when he stoops to this kind of crap, he forfeits the right to hide behind the office and needs to be called out.

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  40. @Guarneri: The best you can do in all of this is snark and a Zero Hedge link?

    Bravo.

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  41. @Tyrell: I would very dearly love an example of a past president leveraging a foreign leader to get dirt on a political rival or for some other clearly personal favor. Please elucidate.

    And if you have to resort to J. Edgar Hoover’s behavior as a defense, you have a losing argument.

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  42. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Obama did get caught on an open make telling Putin he would have more room to negotiate after the election. That’s the same thing as selling out our allies and bolstering Putin’s position in the Middle East, isn’t it?

    I can actually see interpreting that as “do me a favor and shut up until after the election”, which is not great, but way less worse than this.

    Also, you can keep your doctor. Fast, furious and BENGHAZI!!! goes without mention of course. And uranium One. And Bill Clinton and China and the drug trade in Arkansas. (Did the Chinese kill Vince Foster on Clinton’s orders?)

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  43. @Gustopher:

    Obama did get caught on an open make telling Putin he would have more room to negotiate after the election. That’s the same thing as selling out our allies and bolstering Putin’s position in the Middle East, isn’t it?

    I am assuming you are being sarcastic.

    For those who take this seriously, I will note that telling another country’s leader that you will have more leeway after an election is just making an obvious statement of fact. (And he told Medvedev to tell Putin, IIRC).

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  44. @Gustopher: Indeed all around.

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: @Teve: Won’t argue about Obama’s cabinet because my comment was that the specific picture does not look significantly different from pictures of joint meetings of the Presidents with members of Congress from the past. I’m okay standing by my statement as I made it.

    ETA: But if it will help any, boy you sure put ME in MY place there.

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  46. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Maybe you’re talking to Joe. I didn’t have any hostility when I made that comment.

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  47. Joe says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    It wasn’t intended to be hostile. It was simply intended to provide examples contrary to your assertion. Also, Madeleine Albright (WJC) and Condolezza Rice (GWB) predated Obama.

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