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Thomas Gallatin / December 11, 2019

Pelosi Announces Impeachment, Then Trump’s Trade Win

Fearing impeachment backfire, Pelosi signs off on Trump’s USMCA trade deal.

One hour after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi somberly announced the Democrats’ articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, she was back in front of the press happily announcing that Democrats had agreed to sign off on Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an update to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “There is no question, of course, that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA,” Pelosi declared, echoing Trump’s sentiments. However, Pelosi was quick to spin credit for the deal onto Democrats, asserting that the new USMCA deal was “infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration.”

The incongruent optics of Pelosi’s back-to-back announcements are enough to leave one suffering whiplash. How can the Democrats be moving to impeach Trump because he’s supposedly an imminent threat to the country and then turn around and give him one of the biggest policy wins of his presidency?

The answer many be found in the fact that the Democrats’ impeachment gambit hasn’t paid off. If anything, their gamble has cost them in the eyes of the American public, as there is no reasonable possibility that Trump will actually be removed from office. Republicans have taken advantage of Pelosi and company’s anti-Trump obsession and have painted them as “do nothing” Dems. Republicans wonder, “How has the Democrats’ impeachment crusade benefited the country?” And Pelosi knows that if the “do-nothing” label sticks, it could prove to be the most damaging result from their whole impeachment charade.

The public’s (accurate) perception is that while Trump and Republicans have been hard at work making America great (look at their success in spurring a booming economy), Democrats have become singularly focused on impeaching Trump to the neglect of everything else. When Americans elect a president from one party, they don’t want the opposing party in Congress to spend the entirety of his presidency doing everything in their power to derail his agenda and resist him at every turn. Americans expect a government that works for them, not a bunch of politicians fighting for power at all costs.

Pelosi’s calculation is to make sure Democrats can claim some credit for helping American workers and the economy by signing off on USMCA, even if it means giving Trump a win. She’s banking on this move dispelling the “do nothing” label.

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