Nancy Pelosi is upset that President Trump did not contact her in advance about the raid that took out that “austere religious scholar,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Pelosi sniffs that Trump informed Russia, but not her.
Russia needed to be informed, though. The raid involved helicopter flights over territory in Syria that it effectively controls. According to the Washington Post, Russia was told about the flights, but not the nature or objective of the operation being carried out.
There was no need to inform Pelosi of anything. She has no role in an operation or a decision like this one. Pelosi controls some air time, but no air space.
Pelosi fancies herself a shadow Secretary of State — the same role she famously played during the Bush administration when she declared that the road to peace in the Middle East leads through Damascus and her pal Bashar al-Assad. Back then, ignoring the request of the State Department, Pelosi visited Assad. This year, she tried to reprise her role as shadow Secretary in a recent trip to the Middle East.
Trump’s decision not to give Pelosi advance notice of the raid in Syria is a timely reminder that she’s not the player she wants to be — not even close.
The Post says that “U.S. presidents typically follow the protocol of contacting congressional leaders, regardless of their political party, when a high-level military operation is conducted.” If so, they do it as a courtesy.
No less an authority than Susan Rice says as much. She notes that the Obama administration typically sought to keep “Gang of Eight” congressional leaders informed “as a matter of courtesy.” For example, Team Obama kept Mike Rogers, a Republican who then was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, abreast of developments in the buildup to the raid that killed the al Qaeda mastermind.
But Pelosi doesn’t deserve “courtesy” from this White House. If she wants it, she shouldn’t be pointing her finger at Trump, claiming that with him “all roads lead to Russia,” and storming out of meetings. Show me a legislator who behaved like that and received advanced courtesy notice of an operation like the raid on Baghdadi.
Mike Rogers certainly wasn’t that legislator. When he chaired the Intelligence Committee, it was a model of bipartisanship. He worked closely with the ranking member, Dutch Ruppersberger, in what, by the Obama days, had become the last bastion of cross-party cooperation on Capitol Hill.
Rogers was the antithesis of Adam Schiff, the Pelosi protege (and liar) who heads up the Intelligence Committee now.
To add insult to injury, the Trump administration defended the decision not to notify Pelosi on the ground that Trump wanted to make sure the raid remained a secret. Would notifying Pelosi have jeopardized secrecy? I doubt it.
But “all roads don’t lead to Russia” with Trump, either. So turnabout is fair play.
Pelosi is now demanding that the administration brief her and other congressional types about the raid. I assume this will happen. But if Pelosi and her fellow Trump haters are cut out again, it won’t bother me one bit.