“I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration and staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Something in our president is deeply broken. It pains me to look on, helpless, as he flails and burbles in the Oval Office. To watch him chewing listlessly on the Fabergé egg of this republic, throwing cherished norms to the ground just to hear the noise they make when they shatter — oh, it is agony to behold, and I, Nancy Pelosi, wish someone could exercise some oversight over him.
I am praying that maybe somebody, perhaps constitutionally empowered to wield equal power as a branch of government, might take some action, or even start the process of inquiring into taking some kind of action, to restrain his excesses. If only our system were set up in that way, and there were such a body, and the leaders of that body were not insensible to the wishes of me. Alas!
There is a word starting with “I” that I wish people would move forward on. That word is “infrastructure.” And as long as President Trump is not checked by any other branch of government, it looks as though we won’t be able to. Which is a shame.
I feel powerless as I, the speaker of the House of Representatives, look on and see this dreadful man carrying on in this way. I don’t think anyone could feel anything but helpless, looking at the things this man is doing. Did you see how he threw a news conference in the Rose Garden to insist that he was very stable and very smart and did not throw a tantrum? And then a day later he kept demanding that people who had not even been in the room insist that he had not had a tantrum. This is alarming! I am alarmed! And why is he so creepy and secretive about his finances? Are his tax returns wrapped around a human corpse? What is going on? What is happening?
Maybe his family could do something? They have, historically, succeeded at tempering his outbursts. Or am I thinking of the laws of New York State? Or am I thinking of — neither? Something, surely, must have been able to contain him. Surely his party cares about the kind of impression he is leaving on the world. Surely Republicans will rise to the occasion, like a very slow cake. Surely someone out there in a position of power could do something about this.
I will do the only thing that I, a legislator, indeed the speaker of the House, who could really move things onto the floor if such were my wish, am empowered to do at such times: Send my prayers. Prayers are the most powerful thing you can send. That is why we legislators send them so often after shootings, in lieu of legislation.
If someone could check him and force him to comply with congressional inquiries, that would be incredible. If only that power existed! Sure, it might be “divisive.” If you remove a drunk man from behind the wheel of a school bus, it is divisive — the schoolchildren are happy, but on the other hand, the man will be upset. But I am not sure why we are worried about upsetting him. Why would “divisive” be the standard we are holding ourselves to? Any act of political courage that has ever happened, ever, has been divisive, including but not limited to the Declaration of Independence and the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. And, of course, whatever they did to Andrew Johnson. There’s a word. It’s on the tip of my tongue.
If only there were someone who could put a check on this man, constitutionally.
I, personally, wish that I could do something about this iniquitous scamp — maybe even something that starts with I. I could send an illustration, or perform an illusion, or give him an illuminated manuscript with a fisherman staring out of the first letter making a disapproving face. Gosh, something.
Something in this man is deeply broken, and I am doing all I can. I just wish I could do more.
Alexandra Petri is a Washington Post columnist offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of “A Field Guide to Awkward Silences.”