- - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

At 77, Nancy Pelosi has been getting weird.

The top Democrat in the House seems to be in a perpetual state of confusion, loses her train of thought in mid-sentence often, and just seems out of it most of the time. And when she is able to string together a coherent thought, it’s just weird.

And so it was again this past weekend. On “Meet The Press,” Mrs. Pelosi was asked about accusations that Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, sexually harassed staff members and reached a taxpayer-funded settlement with one accuser who said she was fired from his staff for rejecting his sexual advances.

Host Chuck Todd got right to the point:

Mr. Todd: John Conyers. What does that mean for him? Right now. In or out?

Mrs. Pelosi: We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women — Violence Against Women Act, which the left — right-wing — is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing.

Whu?

Then Mr. Todd asked this: “Do you believe John Conyers‘ accusers?

Mrs. Pelosi, the most powerful woman in government, answered: “I don’t know who they are. Do you? They have not really come forward.”

Such a bizarre exchange. The leader of the Democrats on Capitol Hill says she doesn’t know much about the accusations against Mr. Conyers? Um shouldn’t she? And amid the horrific reports, she still calls Mr. Conyers an “icon”? More, she calls for “due process,” but Mr. Conyers already had his day, and he settled with his accuser — using taxpayer money, of course.

In her opening “Meet the Press” answer, she offered platitudes to the millions of angry women across America. “It’s 100 years, almost 100 years, since women got the right to vote. Here we are, almost 100 years later, and something very transformative is happening. That is, women are saying, ‘Zero tolerance, no more, and we’re going to speak out on it.’ And this is so wholesome, so refreshing, so different.”

It is, but where is the “zero tolerance” among elected officials — in this case, Democrats?

Mrs. Pelosi also refused to reveal what action she might take against Mr. Conyers, even though Mr. Todd pointed out that as Democratic leader that might be part of her job. Hours later, Mr. Conyers announced he was stepping down from his position on the House Judiciary Committee — a move that let him save face and look gracious, rather than being canned.

On Sen. Al Franken, the Minnesota Democrat accused by several women of touching them sexually, Mrs. Pelosi said it’s up to the accusers to accept or reject his apology.

“His accusers have to accept an apology. The victims have some say in all of this, as well. And that has happened in the past. People have accepted an apology, as is coming forth now that I see in the press. But we didn’t know, because there was a nondisclosure agreement to protect the victim. Sometimes they didn’t want to be public. Sometimes they did. So now they will have their choice,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

Again: Whu?

Mrs. Pelosi was roundly ripped for her tone deaf remarks.

Nancy Pelosi is that woman — Pelosi’s performance on ‘Meet the Press’ is why so many women don’t come forward about sexual harassment,” the liberal website Vox wrote.

Others ripped the Democratic leader as well.

“We have no moral high ground against the likes of Roy Moore if we sit by in silence when Al Franken and John Conyers get to sit in their seats,” Democratic strategist Lis Smith told NBC News. “We can’t be the party that says we stand up for women only when it’s politically convenient — we have to apply the same standards to ourselves.”

But Elise Jordan, a Republican strategist and MSNBC analyst, summed it all up best.

“I’m trying to think of a political interview in recent history that’s been as damaging to a politician, simply because she was so unprepared and could not answer questions about a huge crisis that is sweeping across the nation and so many industries, not just politics,” she said.

“I think that Democrats on Capitol Hill are underestimating the movement that’s happening right now and the tenor of the nation when it comes to zero tolerance for sexual harassment and sexual assault. It’s another example of Washington protecting their own — they’re protecting the boys who are in the club,” Ms. Jordan said.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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