WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that she called President Donald Trump “morbidly obese” because he's put down women for their weight. And besides, she suggested, the president could lose a few pounds himself as the coronavirus bears down on the nation's capital.
“I gave him a dose of his own medicine. He’s called women one thing or another over time, and I thought he thinks that passes off as humor in certain cultures," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference. "I was only quoting what doctors had said about him, so I was being factual in a very sympathetic way.”
For the record, the president is obese, but not morbidly so. Pelosi on Monday called Trump “morbidly obese.” He responded by dismissing her as “a waste of time.”
Pelosi's level of sympathy is unclear. Even as the virus ravages Americans and the U.S. economy, the two are barely speaking to each other.
They have sparred since the beginning of the Trump presidency and more sharply since Pelosi ascended to the speakership in 2019, for the second time. The topics have ranged from the historic — a government shutdown and Trump's impeachment — to playground-quality name-calling and who has the last word.
But really, it's always been about who has more power, a commodity never more critical than during a pandemic that has killed more than 92,000 in the U.S. and left more than 36 million people looking for work. The spread of the coronavirus, which poses a greater risk of death for older adults and people with health problems, is still significant in Washington. Trump, 73, and Pelosi, 80, are working from opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue on what's expected to be another multitrillion-dollar rescue package.
On that, there was little progress Wednesday. Pelosi's $3 trillion bill, which passed the House along party lines last week, got a chilly reception in the Republican-controlled Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed it as “unserious and so far left.” It took on rules, McConnell noted, governing marijuana policy during the pandemic. He's noted, too, that the House is out of session this week, while the Senate is in Washington.
Pelosi, meanwhile, sent a letter to colleagues Wednesday morning triggering a 45-day period in which members can vote by proxy to limit the spread of the coronavirus.