House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., argue during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, in Washington.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

The rationale behind Trump’s latest bogus claim about Pelosi

Updated

Last night, as Donald Trump wrapped up a long day of borderline-hysterical tweeting, the president came up with a new line of attack against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The California Democrat, Trump claimed, “just got duped in an interview to admitting that she has been working on impeaching me for ‘two and a half years.’ In other words, she lied. This was the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats plan all along, long before the Ukraine phone call.”

As is usually the case, the president wasn’t telling the truth.

[At Politico’s “Women Rule” summit], Anna Palmer asked Pelosi to react to the criticism that Democrats are racing through their impeachment inquiry of the president.

“It’s been going on for 22 months, two-and-a-half years actually,” Pelosi said initially.

Then immediately made clear she was referring to the Mueller investigation.

“I think we are not moving with speed. Was it two and a half years ago they initiated the Mueller investigation? It’s not about speed. It’s about urgency. One of the charges against the president of the United States is that he was violating his oath of office by asking for government to interfere in our election undermining the integrity of our elections,” she said.

Nevertheless, Trump repeated his lie this morning. If recent history is any guide, forever more, the president will pretend his falsehood is fact, telling anyone who’ll listen that Pelosi “admitted” that she began the impeachment push two-and-a-half years ago, facts be damned.

Trump’s dishonesty is painfully common, and as his lies go, this one may seem unremarkable. What shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle, though, is the degree to which Trump has reality backwards.

Nancy Pelosi did not want to impeach this president. She really made every effort to avoid it. The more some House Democrats pushed for an impeachment inquiry in the spring, the more the Speaker pushed back, insisting Trump wasn’t “worth it.”

By all appearances, Pelosi genuinely believed the key to her party’s success in 2020 was focusing on its policy agenda and stressing the issues where she believes Democrats have a strong advantage.

And then Trump tried to extort a vulnerable U.S. ally as part of a scheme to cheat in the 2020 elections – at which point Pelosi wasn’t given much of a choice.

In the president’s mind, it’s easier to believe Pelosi has harbored impeachment ambitions for nearly three years, simply waiting for an excuse to execute the plan she had in mind all along. The exact opposite is true.