Why Trump’s brave face on impeachment is so hard to believe

Updated

It’s not exactly a secret that House Democratic leaders, most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have been skeptical about pursuing impeachment against Donald Trump because they’re afraid of helping him. Whether one finds the pitch persuasive or not, it’s at least familiar: a failed impeachment push would rally the right, alienate swing voters, and leave the president looking stronger, not weaker.

Obviously, things are different now, but the president is eager to exploit his opponents’ anxieties. Here was Trump yesterday before a bilateral meeting in New York with Iraq President Barham Salih.

“Our country is doing the best it’s ever done. They’re going to lose the election and they figure this is a thing to do. This never happened where we’re in the election, and – I mean, if [Pelosi pursues impeachment], they all say that’s a positive for me, for the election.”

The question, of course, is not what “they all say,” but what the American president actually believes. And if Trump were genuinely confident that an impeachment push – one that will almost certainly fail to remove him from office thanks to a Republican-led Senate – would improve his political standings, his bravado would be persuasive.

Indeed, Trump should theoretically be celebrating right now. Those foolish Democrats are moving forward with a process that’s likely to be “a positive” for the president and his re-election bid. What a lucky break for the hapless, scandal-plagued incumbent: Pelosi & Co. are handing the Republican a gift that’s likely to help keep him in power.

Except, Trump isn’t celebrating – because by all appearances, his confidence about the political effects of the impeachment push is a lie. He wouldn’t have published a series of panic-stricken tweets if he saw these developments as a boon to his career.

Meanwhile, Politico reported overnight, “In public, Trumpworld is casting the Democratic impeachment inquiry as more white noise. In private, White House aides and allies say the impeachment momentum now presents a serious threat to the rest of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda, to his negotiating strength with world leaders and to his concentration.”

Maybe they haven’t heard that “they all say” the impeachment process is “a positive” for the president?