Nancy Pelosi is adept at getting under Donald Trump’s thin skin. The House speaker has recently traded insults with the president, who this week stooped to calling her “crazy Nancy” and re-tweeting a doctored video intended to make her look inebriated.
It’s easy to see why Pelosi drives Trump up the wall. (The proverbial wall, that is, not the one that Mexico is going to pay for.) She’s a smart woman who makes no attempt to hide her low opinion of him. As the Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio recently told CNN: “She’s Mommy and she’s not treating him well. She’s a powerful woman, a bit older than him, got authority. I don’t think he likes it when women aren’t taking care of him.” You don’t say?
Pelosi is also a master of the art of quiet condescension. Should you need any more evidence of her signature snark, here are five occasions which demonstrate that, while Trump may be president of the US, she’s the queen of shade.
1. The time she got Trump to own the government shutdown
Last December, Pelosi helped to goad Trump into not just taking responsibility for a potential government shutdown, but announcing he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security”. In a televised meeting with Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, Trump attempted to taunt Pelosi, who hadn’t yet been elected speaker, announcing: “Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy to talk right now.” Pelosi didn’t take the bait, responding: “Please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting.” Eventually Trump snapped and handed Democrats a gem of a soundbite, announcing: “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut [the government] down.” Pelosi then exited the White House in sunglasses and a red coat, looking the very picture of triumph.
2. The time she mocked his inherited wealth
During the government shutdown in January, Pelosi told reporters that Trump didn’t understand the financial pressure government employees were facing. “Many federal workers will not be receiving their paychecks, and what that means in their lives is tragic … the president seems to be insensitive to that,” Pelosi said. “He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money. But they can’t.” It was a not-so-subtle reminder that Trump’s fortune isn’t the result of his self-proclaimed business genius, but rather stems from daddy’s bank account.
3. The time she called a meeting with Trump a ‘tinkle contest’
After the December meeting, in which Trump threatened to shut down the government, Pelosi reportedly said that the wall is “like a manhood thing for him – as if manhood could ever be associated with him”.
According to a Democratic aide, Pelosi also compared talking to Trump to a tinkle contest with a skunk. “You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”
4. The time she turned clapping into a viral meme
Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Pelosi memorably managed to upstage Trump’s State of the Union address in February without saying a word. Pelosi punctuated Trump’s rambling with well-placed eye rolls and undercut his loud blustering with silent disdain. Then, when Trump called on Washington to “reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation”, she stood up and applauded so sarcastically that the #PelosiClap instantly went viral.
5. The time she was very concerned about Trump’s confidence
On Wednesday, Trump abruptly terminated a meeting about infrastructure with Democratic leaders and started yelling about cover-ups. “Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up,” Trump fumed to the press. “I don’t do cover-ups,” he added.
Pelosi responded to Trump’s outburst by hypothesizing that it may have been down to a “lack of confidence on his part – he couldn’t match the greatness of the challenge that we have … In any event, I pray for the president of the United States and I pray for the United States of America.” She also urged that “his family or his administration and staff would have an intervention for the good of the country”. You know what a good intervention might be? Calling for impeachment.