The Corner

White House

Trump’s Response to Nancy Pelosi Could Fuel a Historic Battle

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif.) holds a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 10, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

If you can get beyond the partisan angles, the White House’s response to Nancy Pelosi’s quasi disinvitation to give the State of the Union address could be the beginning of a historic battle between the two branches of government. President Trump informed Nancy Pelosi that her trip to Europe and the Middle East will have to be “postponed” because of the shutdown. And it might not end there:

I’m not taking Pelosi’s side in this as a political or policy matter, but I would love to see it dawn on Congress that the executive branch is not in fact the boss of the legislative branch and that, over the long term, Congress actually has a lot more power over the executive than the other way around. Given the politics of the moment, I think things would have to get a lot worse before GOP congressmen see themselves more as defenders of their institution than their party. But it seems this is the way such a long-overdue awakening could start.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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