The Note: Pelosi figures out Trump's game

The image of Trump walking away from the negotiating table works for Democrats.

May 24, 2019, 5:59 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

This week started out by highlighting Democratic divisions, but it ends underscoring and reinforcing the party's unity.

Democrats can thank, again, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She redirected an emerging rebellion over impeachment with a combination of careful strategy and carefully crafted words.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 23, 2019.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Pelosi and her fellow Democrats have managed to get under President Donald Trump's skin. They're doing it by taking some of his bait but not all of it -- all in a way that's personal enough for him to appreciate.

"I wish that his family, or his administration, or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country," Pelosi said Thursday.

Trump's response -- that the speaker is a "mess," who is "disintegrating" and who doesn't understand the intricacies of the new trade deal -- doesn't match the reality of Pelosi's standing at this moment.

With her colleagues engaged in several levels of oversight and tough questioning, the speaker appears to be at the height of her powers. The image of the president walking away from the negotiating table works for the Democrats -- even if the party can't speak with one voice all that often.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

A large number of 2020 presidential primary contenders worked hard this week to make sure aggrieved McDonald's workers saw the Democratic Party was uniquely on their side.

As workers went on strike around the country, demanding higher wages and speaking out against harassment, several candidates were there in the streets with them. Senators at work in Washington sent statements of support too.

Democratic presidential candidate and Washington governor Jay Inslee joins demonstrators at a rally in front of McDonald's corporate headquarters to demand $15-per-hour wages for fast food workers, May 23, 2019, in Chicago.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Typically politicians prefer to speak in generalities, but increasingly Democrats have shown a willingness to pick public fights against private companies. Sen. Bernie Sanders has done this repeatedly throughout his career -- especially after his 2016 run.

Joining a protest against a big business or advocating for the right to join a union may not seem revolutionary for a Democrat, but when so many of the party's presidential candidates now support a $15-per-hour minimum wage, their united front can carry some punch.

The TIP with Kendall Karson

Marianne Williamson visits SiriusXM Studios, March 7, 2019, in New York City.
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

When the Democratic National Committee first outlined its new qualifying rules to keep the debates to 20 people, two long-shot candidates landing on the stages seemed improbable.

But on Thursday, Marianne Williamson, the bestselling author and an atypical presidential contender, cleared a significant hurdle, effectively assuring herself a podium at the first Democratic debates next month.

A new Monmouth poll shows her garnering 1% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters. It comes on the heels of her announcing that she crossed the 65,000 grassroots-donor mark to qualify for the stage earlier this month -- joining another outsider candidate, Andrew Yang, in meeting both thresholds.

Now, Williamson and Yang have outpaced 12 other candidates -- including a U.S. senator and a sitting governor -- in locking up their spots and could sideline a few more politically experienced contenders on the big night.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features a conversation with ABC News' Trish Turner, who brings us up to speed on the back-and-forth between Trump and Pelosi. Then ABC News' Alexander Mallin tells us why the new charges brought against Julian Assange could have a chilling effect on investigative journalism.

FiveThirtyEight's "Politics Podcast." The folks at The Washington Post's Fact Checker recently hit a data-collection milestone. In late April, its count of false or misleading claims that President Donald Trump has made since taking office passed 10,000. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Glenn Kessler of the Fact Checker talks to Galen Druke about the trends in Trump's falsehoods and the challenges of tracking them.


  • A slew of candidates are heading to Iowa, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Cory Booker, D-N.J.
  • Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper makes stops in Connecticut on Friday and Saturday.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joins students for a climate strike before meeting with union members in Las Vegas on Friday. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio heads to Las Vegas on Saturday.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., meets with Baltimore community activists on gun violence on Friday, before heading to New Hampshire this weekend.
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders heads to his home state on Saturday for a rally in Montpelier's State House.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will also be in New Hampshire starting on Friday, Sunday and Monday, respectively.
  • Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivers the commencement speech at the University of Maryland on Friday.Sunday on ABC's "This Week": Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz goes one-on-one with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Plus, House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., stops by. And the Powerhouse Roundtable debates all the week's politics, with ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd, ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks, Republican Strategist and ABC News Contributor Alex Castellanos, and Associated Press Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the sharpest political analysis every weekday.

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