- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2019

In 1984, while facing questioning about his age and ability to go the distance and deal with the pressures of a presidential role, then-candidate Ronald Reagan was asked by a Baltimore Sun journalist if there was “any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function” properly in the White House.

Reagan’s famous response?

With his Democratic opponent Walter Mondale standing to his left, Reagan assured: “Not at all.”

He then added, “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

Even Mondale had to laugh.

And now we have President Donald Trump v. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

When Pelosi pressed for the president to delay his State of the Union or deliver it from the Oval Office — saying the government shutdown would compromise security and overburden Secret Service — Trump turned around and canceled the military aircraft for the speaker’s planned travel to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan.

“Due to the Shutdown,” Trump wrote in a letter to Pelosi that was tweeted by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “I am sorry to inform you that your trip … has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.”

Laugh. Out. Loud.

He also reminded that Pelosi could always continue with the trip via commercial flight. But, he went on, “it would be better” if she stayed on Capitol Hill to join “the Strong Border Security movement to end the shutdown.”

The media howled; the left cried foul. The defenders of all-things-Democrat didn’t see anything funny about Trump’s response.

“Childish spat masks era-defining duel between Trump and Pelosi,” CNN blared in one headline.

Trump and Pelosi: A Game of Spite and Malice,” The New York Times blasted in another.

Yet this is the same media, the same left, that practically hours earlier praised and gloated over Pelosi’s gotcha moment against Trump.

The Washington Post, for instance, published a piece with the headline, “‘She wields the knife’: Pelosi moves to belittle and undercut Trump in shutdown fight,” and another titled, “Facing Trump’s tantrum, Pelosi takes away the TV.”

Well, guess who’s laughing now.

So what’s the next move? What’s the next drama?

No doubt, the dig-in will continue on both sides. In other words, expect the fireworks, the showdown, the political parrying to continue.

“[I]f the president thinks the gentle lady from San Francisco — by way of the docks of Baltimore — will back down when he counterpunches, he better realize that Pelosi can throw punches his way that would make former heavyweight boxing champion ‘Joltin’ Joe Frazier proud,” Democratic strategist Ed Rollins wrote in a Fox News opinion.

That may be.

Still, Trump is the guy who sent the campaign trail in 2015 into giggles by responding to then-White House contender Lindsey Graham’s characterization of him as a “jackass” with a public service announcement of the good senator’s cellphone number.

Pelosi may brawl. She may even draw blood.

But Trump makes us laugh. And in the end, the race goes to the most inspiring.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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