House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday questioned whether the U.S. is devolving into a banana republic in light of President Trump’s stop in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House earlier this week.
“For peaceful demonstrators to make way — make way for the president to walk through … what is this, a banana republic?” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Law enforcement had cleared protesters near the White House on Monday as Mr. Trump was preparing to deliver a Rose Garden speech on the ongoing unrest in the country after the killing of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.
The U.S. Park Police on Tuesday said officials did not use tear gas and the protesters had started throwing projectiles, though witnesses on the scene had said the demonstration was largely peaceful.
“Maybe they didn’t have tear gas — I don’t know. But they had elements of it,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
Democrats and some religious leaders have harshly criticized Mr. Trump after he made the dramatic walk over near the vandalized church, held up a Bible and walked back to the White House.
The president said late Tuesday that he’s gotten positive reviews and name-checked three Republican senators who had issued mild rebukes.
“You got it wrong! If the protesters were so peaceful, why did they light the Church on fire the night before?” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “People liked my walk to this historic place of worship! Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. James Lankford, Sen. Ben Sasse.”
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Nancy Pelosi legal threats quiet on Trump pandemic aid order
President Trump’s pen is turning out to be pretty hefty. Critics complained vigorously and predicted a flood of lawsuits when Mr. Trump flexed his executive powers to order an extension of unemployment benefits and other pandemic assistance. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, called the executive orders “absurdly unconstitutional.” Yet nearly a month later, Mrs.…
President Trump’s pen is turning out to be pretty hefty.
Critics complained vigorously and predicted a flood of lawsuits when Mr. Trump flexed his executive powers to order an extension of unemployment benefits and other pandemic assistance. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, called the executive orders “absurdly unconstitutional.”
Yet nearly a month later, Mrs. Pelosi, who has sued over myriad other Trump policies, has not filed a coronavirus lawsuit. Neither have other major Trump opponents.
Instead, governors rushed to sign up for the unemployment benefits, and Democrats were among the most enthusiastic.
In addition to the unemployment boost, Mr. Trump on Aug. 8 issued directives attempting to suspend evictions, to delay student loan repayments and to grant a payroll tax deferral. Those plans have taken longer to materialize, but the president’s moves did fill the gap left by Capitol Hill, which has been gridlocked for months over provisions in another round of coronavirus assistance.
Congress returns this week from a summer vacation, and lawmakers have insisted that they will step up to tackle the big issues.
The federal government needs new funding by Sept. 30 or will have to shut down, and all sides are eyeing another round of coronavirus relief.
House Democrats have powered through a $3 trillion package with another round of unemployment benefits and a massive infusion of cash for state and local governments. Senate Republicans are looking for a vote on a much slimmer package, perhaps $1 trillion, with a smaller unemployment benefit and a new round of assistance for businesses.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Sunday that the administration and Mrs. Pelosi have agreed to government funding at least through Election Day on Nov. 3.
“We haven’t agreed on the specific details, but my expectation would be [the funding will last] through the beginning of December. That’s what we did this year,” Mr. Mnuchin told Fox. “For now, the most important thing is that at the end of the month we don’t shut down the government and we get something past the election.”
But he signaled that coronavirus relief negotiations are tougher.
“Where we’re really stuck is both on certain policy issues but more importantly on the top line,” Mr. Mnuchin told Fox. “The speaker has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a 2½ trillion-dollar deal in advance. … Let’s do a more targeted bill now. If we need to do more in 30 days, we’ll continue to do more.”
Mr. Mnuchin also took a victory lap for Friday’s job numbers, which showed that the economy added 1.4 million jobs in August and that the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%.
Those numbers are far better than economists predicted just a few months ago, when the Congressional Budget Office, the government’s chief scorekeeper, said the unemployment rate would be above 10% for another year.
But the trade-off is perhaps tens of thousands more lives lost because of a reopened economy.
Mr. Trump is pushing for a still faster recovery.
A centerpiece of his executive actions last month was a payroll tax deferral. Mr. Trump directed the Treasury Department to grant a delay on taxes due so workers don’t have to have payroll taxes deducted from their checks for the rest of this year.
But under the law, they would still owe the amount, likely in a lump sum next year.
Mr. Trump has insisted that if he wins reelection, he will fight to waive the repayment and turn the payroll tax holiday into a tax cut.
The hiccup for Mr. Trump is that payroll taxes are deducted from paychecks, and the money goes to fund Social Security. That means businesses must agree to change their accounting for workers to see the money now.
Democrats also claim, wrongly, that the holiday undermines Social Security’s finances. In fact, since the money is still owed, the program’s underpinning remains solid, though that could change if Mr. Trump makes the holiday permanent.
In an effort to kick-start the process, the administration has said it will impose the holiday for federal workers.
The American Federation of Government Employees last week demanded that federal workers be given a choice and said Mr. Trump’s deferral scheme “has the makings of a fiasco.”
The student loan payment delay is the most straightforward of the four policies Mr. Trump announced in early August. It continues a policy put into place during the coronavirus crisis to grant a reprieve on repaying loans.
Mr. Trump’s eviction moratorium could face a lawsuit. Landlords have sued some states that imposed bans on evictions, and they are reportedly pondering whether to take on Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump’s extra unemployment benefits, which some analysts deem the most legally suspect, have also proved the most popular.
As of late last week 46 governors had been granted unemployment checks of $300 or $400 a week per worker on top of what states were paying. Among them are prominent Trump critics including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
The money was paid as a lost wages grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Congress, in one of its early coronavirus packages, granted a $600-a-week plus-up. As businesses started to reopen, some workers refused to go back because they were making more money from unemployment benefits.
One Democratic aide called the president’s moves “fake orders.”
“Terrible leadership from the worst deal-maker in the history of the presidency,” said the aide.
Rep. Ann Kuster of New Hampshire, vice chair of the New Democrat Coalition, said there is still a need for a big package from Capitol Hill.
“Many of the measures from the president’s executive orders in August have yet to kick in, and unfortunately provided little certainty to American renters who are facing evictions because it did not ban evictions,” she said. “Democrats and Republicans need to work together to provide meaningful and lasting relief for Americans who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
⦁ Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.
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Nancy Pelosi flouts the rules in San Francisco hair salon
ANALYSIS/OPINION: The Nancy Pelosi salon scandal has been, appropriately, receiving a lot of attention. On its face, it is insulting, an abuse of power, and a punch in the nose of all Americans who have obeyed COVID-19 lockdown restrictions at the expense of their quality of life, and in so many instances, their life’s work.…
The Nancy Pelosi salon scandal has been, appropriately, receiving a lot of attention. On its face, it is insulting, an abuse of power, and a punch in the nose of all Americans who have obeyed COVID-19 lockdown restrictions at the expense of their quality of life, and in so many instances, their life’s work.
But there she was, in broad daylight, on a security camera inside a closed salon in San Francisco; there goes Mrs. Pelosi waltzing along without a mask, her hair wet, and in the presence of salon staff.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California remains under fire for bizarre and arbitrary rules keeping the economy of that state shut down. Small business owners are being destroyed, as people are being driven into poverty. San Francisco’s politicians, as of Sept. 1, raised their scepter and declared salons could open for outdoor hair-styling only. They do not allow hair coloring outside because other restrictions ban certain chemicals from being introduced to the environment.
The salon Mrs. Pelosi was visiting was shut to the general public but was contacted by a freelance stylist who rents a station in the salon who said that Mrs. Pelosi had contacted them and was coming in. The salon owner spoke bluntly in an interview with Fox News, “It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work. … We’re supposed to look up to this woman, right? It is just disturbing.”
While this episode, in and of itself, is worthy of outrage, it is just one more illustration of how the ruling class believes that they are above the law. It’s not just insulting, it is dangerous. It shows that politicians feel more than comfortable issuing draconian, grotesque and dangerous laws — viewing American citizens as collateral damage in their fun little game and obsessive drive for power.
While Mrs. Pelosi flouts the law in her home city as women who are not multi-millionaires watch their hard work and futures go down the drain, we also have Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney who banned indoor dining in that great American city due to COVID-19. He was then seen enjoying a lovely indoor dining experience in Maryland.
Philadelphians noticed and are not happy. Philadelphia celebrity restaurateur Marc Vetri made his opinion known on Twitter: “Hi @phillymayor !!! Glad you’re enjoying indoor dining with no social distancing or mask-wearing in Maryland tonight while restaurants here in Philly close, suffer and fight for every nickel just to survive. I guess all your press briefings and your narrative of unsafe indoor dining don’t apply to you. Thank you for clearing it all up for us tonight.”
This arrogant flouting of what are supposed to be existential laws and rules reveals something especially urgent: These politicians are admitting, with their own behavior, that they don’t believe those rules are even necessary.
The lockdown of small businesses, including restaurants, is based on the argument that it’s a matter of life and death. “Wear that mask, or you are going to kill grandma.” Or “indoor dining can’t happen because you’re gonna die or you’re gonna cause somebody else to die.” And then the “Keep that salon (or store, or gym, or church) closed because, again, everyone’s going to die,” lecture.
Neither Mrs. Pelosi nor Mr. Kenney felt they were in danger by flouting laws and rules they force on others in the name of the ubiquitous “safety.” We see this double-standard on a gigantic scale with condemnation and scorn by Democratic politicians of Trump political gatherings, while they support, and even encourage, left-wing political demonstrations and riots.
Isn’t it time we end this?
Many are observing that this hypocrisy and the nonsensical nature of the shutdown prove it is a political effort to depress the economy because it might hurt President Trump. The Daily Caller reported internal polling at the Trump campaign “showing that likely voters still care significantly more about jobs and the economy than any other issue heading into the 2020 election.”
No doubt the Democrats have found the same thing. Many have been perplexed at the inexplicable decisions by Democrats keeping major American cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco shut down. But by shutting down those economic engines perhaps they imagine this will harm Trump. You, they don’t even think about. Their hatred for Mr. Trump is completely consuming them. At our expense.
There is widespread concern that there will be cheating in the Nov. 3 election, something that should not surprise us, nor should it seem so outrageous considering the destruction Democrats are allowing in the cities they control due to their panic at losing, again, to Mr. Trump and the American people. Deliberate economic destruction, while allowing domestic terrorism to continue on a nightly basis in some great American cities, tells us at the very least what they’re capable of.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.
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Nancy Pelosi hair salon visit causes stir
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her hair styled at a shuttered San Francisco salon this week that was supposed to be closed under the city’s coronavirus rules — and she didn’t wear a mask. Fox News obtained security video of Mrs. Pelosi in the salon, and the owner told the network she was appalled at…
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her hair styled at a shuttered San Francisco salon this week that was supposed to be closed under the city’s coronavirus rules — and she didn’t wear a mask.
Fox News obtained security video of Mrs. Pelosi in the salon, and the owner told the network she was appalled at the top Democrat in the country, calling it a “slap in the face.”
Erica Kious told Fox that an independent stylist she rents a chair to in the salon told her Mrs. Pelosi’s folks had said they were coming in. Ms. Kious said she wasn’t sure what to do, but figured she couldn’t control the actions of the contract stylist.
She was, however, furious at what went down.
While the stylist wore a mask, video shows Mrs. Pelosi entering a room with wet hair and a gown, but without a mask over her mouth. She did have something around her neck that may have been a mask.
Fox reported that San Francisco salons were still shut down on Monday, when Mrs. Pelosi had her appointment. They opened only for outdoor service on Tuesday.
Mrs. Pelosi’s office insisted she wasn’t to blame.
“This business offered for the speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business,” Drew Hamill, a senior aide, said in a statement. “The speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment.”
In text messages obtained by Fox, though, the stylist seems to suggest it was the Pelosi team that pushed the appointment. “”Pelosi assistant[sic] just messaged me to do her hair,” read the message from the stylist to Ms. Kious.
Mrs. Pelosi has been a cheerleader for mask wearing, and in June called President Trump “cowardly” for not prominently doing so.
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