I’m not sure if it was Oprah that said this or if it was Oprah quoting her friend and mentor the late great poet Maya Angelou, but one of my favorite sayings is that you have to teach people how to treat you. If you don’t teach them how to treat you, they will just treat you the way they want to or how they treat everybody else. And because we are all a little different there’s a very good chance that you will not like it- especially if who you are dealing with is not playing with a full deck.
That simple yet poignant lesson can go a long way toward dictating how things go for you. Imagine my joy and surprise when I heard the news this morning that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had cued in to that wisdom and decided to apply it to their dealings with Donald Trump.
“Chuck and Nancy” as Trump calls them, were scheduled to meet with Trump this morning at the White House to discuss the budget that needs to be passed within the next couple of weeks to fund the government and avoid a government shut down. Three hours before the meeting Trump tweeted out that Chuck and Nancy are only interested in raising taxes higher, allowing free and open borders, and being weak on crime. Most pointed of all, he said “I don’t see a deal.”
So “Chuck and Nancy” decided to break with protocol and kick traditional Washington civility to the curb- and stood up the President. Chuck went down to the Senate floor and just put Trump on blast.
Announcing that he and Nancy would not be party to a fruitless meeting or a photo-op- refusing to dignify Trump’s flagrant lies about them and the policy positions that they hold.
It was a thing of beauty. Imagine that. Someone in an official capacity actually holding this president- who acts like a character straight out of a Cohen Brothers movie- to account for his words. And of course he acted like a whiny little bitch the rest of the day- working in shots at Chuck and Nancy to any conversation, even when responding to the news of North Korea’s ICBM launch that could be a credible threat to the country.
But through all of that bluster and posturing- even posing in between two empty seats to represent the absent Chuck and Nancy- he got the picture. He has been put on notice: If you open your mouth ahead of a serious meeting with some made-up-monkey-shit about us, we will leave you standing where you are- kicking and screaming like a big fat ugly baby.
And that is exactly what happened. So Trump will not have the benefit of political cover that comes from having sat with the leadership of the opposition party that is often crucial to the legislative process. And if anything goes wrong with the budget (and you can be damned sure it will) Trump and the Republicans will own it all.
So far, Trump has been impervious to lessons and his blissful ignorance and boundless arrogance have served him well. But I am not convinced that anybody has actually taught him this way before. He was startled and shaken that his little party didn’t have all the guests he wanted. He was rejected like a little kid who didn’t have anybody at his birthday party.
If nothing else, Chuck & Nancy have taught the rest of us how to regard them for the remainder of the time they have to tangle with Trump. And I’m liking what they taught us today.