House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is not one to pull her punches. In recent days, she has turned up the volume on her attacks on Republicans, who inexplicably seem to be taking positions that are not only harmful to Americans but are also politically dumb. Her strongly worded challenges to both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) leave no doubt that she is confident she has them on the run on multiple fronts.

On the issue of voting by mail, she noted Thursday at her weekly news conference — as she and several members paid tribute to the 101st anniversary of the House vote to extend the franchise to women — that her recently passed Heroes Act includes $3.6 billion to ramp up state voting for the coronavirus era, building on the $400 million in the Cares Act. She argued that Republicans misunderstand what’s going on, ignoring that there is wide bipartisan support to allow people to vote without risking their health. She said the Republicans’ opposition is in keeping with their efforts to make it harder to vote. “This is for the people, no need to be afraid of the people,” she said. “That’s just another insecurity.” She added that Republican opposition to the funding is “in keeping with their

voter suppression in general.”

On the Heroes Act, she expressed confidence that McConnell would eventually come to the table. Nevertheless, for now she argues, “He has decided to obstruct.” As for more funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to combat food insecurity, she chastised Republican opposition. “Aren’t they ashamed to say … ‘I don’t want to spend money to feed people in America’?” (No.)

When asked about mask-wearing, Pelosi cautioned that it matters how we return to our interaction with others. (She joked against “double-dipping into the guacamole” at family get-togethers. “By the way, it’s never a good idea,” she maternally advised the reporters in attendance.) She said to people who don’t wear masks: “The mask is not to protect you. The mask is to protect other people. So when you don’t wear the mask, [you say], ‘I don’t care about you, but I hope you’re wearing a mask and care about me.’” Leaving no doubt about the object of her concern, she continued, “It does matter [how you interact]. And that’s why I would hope that the president and the vice president would wear a mask. They don’t wear a mask. Why not? … They should set an example.” She went on: “They have doctors around them all the time to administer to their various needs. But everybody else does not have that.”

Her message is essentially: Republicans do not give a darn about your health. Money for testing and to allow you to vote safely from home? Forget it. Feed hungry families? No way. Wear a mask so you don’t make others sick? Not a chance. Republicans’ personal conduct and policy “decisions” (i.e., blind objection to spending money on popular items) is not merely reprehensible. If you tried, you could not take actions better designed to alienate voters. Then again, you could always threaten to cut off lifesaving aid to devastated states that are critical to win in November if they don’t stop making it easier to vote. Now that would be political suicide.

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