Donald Trump, call Nancy Pelosi

nancy pelosi health care bill reaction sot_00014815
nancy pelosi health care bill reaction sot_00014815

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    Pelosi: A victory for the American people

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Pelosi: A victory for the American people 01:48

Story highlights

  • Steve Israel: Amid his legislative trouble, it's time Trump reaches out to Nancy Pelosi
  • He says Pelosi has long worked to deliver the votes when passing legislation

Former US Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat from New York, is chairman of the Global Institute at Long Island University and a CNN contributor. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)President Donald Trump's "Art of the Deal" has begun to look like some kind of parody from "The Onion." He was humbled by an uncompromising Freedom Caucus over health care. And there's more trouble ahead as House conservatives, not known for their magnanimity, target new legislative prey.

What now?
Steve Israel
Turn to Nancy Pelosi.
    I know. I couldn't have been the only one who caught what looked like a snarl on his lips when he looked in her direction during his February speech to Congress.
    Last week he blamed the Democrats -- and implicitly her -- for the GOP's failure to replace Obamacare. And on fundamental issues like tax cuts for the rich, undermining Planned Parenthood and denying climate change, turning toward her will likely be a complete non-starter.
    But here's a secret: When it comes to passing legislation that's in the best interest of the American people and reflects the priorities of the House Democratic Caucus and candidates, Nancy Pelosi will work to deliver the votes, no matter who's holding the speaker's gavel or sitting in the Oval Office.
    Anderson Cooper interviews Nancy Pelosi
    Anderson Cooper interviews Nancy Pelosi

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      Anderson Cooper interviews Nancy Pelosi

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    Anderson Cooper interviews Nancy Pelosi 18:00
    As a member of the House Democratic leadership, I saw firsthand that the path to a majority vote often went through the minority leader's office. I would sit in leadership meetings, in that room, amid baseball bats signed by her beloved San Francisco Giants and bowls filled with her favorite chocolates (I always appreciated the symbolism of sweets and baseball bats), while elsewhere, House Speaker Paul Ryan or then-Speaker John Boehner were struggling to round up Republican votes to pass legislation vital to the administration of our government.
    Whenever they fell short on their side of the aisle, her phone would ring.
    They called to avoid government shutdowns; to raise the debt ceiling; to provide Hurricane Sandy relief; to preserve the Export-Import Bank. Even when she was house speaker in 2008, President Bush implored her to secure Democratic votes to pass his Troubled Assets Relief Program and avoid financial collapse.
    In every instance, her calculation was clear: If the bill advanced the national interest, reflected consensus in her caucus and didn't deviate from the strategic imperative of achieving a Democratic majority, she produced the necessary votes.
    Pelosi: Trump is 'Deflector-in-Chief'
    Pelosi: Trump is 'Deflector-in-Chief'

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      Pelosi: Trump is 'Deflector-in-Chief'

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    Pelosi: Trump is 'Deflector-in-Chief' 02:01
    President Trump's negotiating options will be increasingly limited if his plan is to write off 193 Democrats as he tries to advance an agenda, especially as Freedom Caucus members flex their muscles, leaving Republicans in moderate districts with the sense that they are losing their grip.
    The fact is, the next vote on the debt ceiling, a government shutdown, or sending emergency funds to a blue state ravaged by a natural disaster will require the President to deal with Democrats.
    Regardless of whether it's done behind closed doors or in front of a camera, if President Trump has any interest in governing, then sooner or later he will have to invite Leader Pelosi to the table.
    And if that sounds to President Trump like "fake news," then perhaps he should call Speaker Ryan or former Speaker Boehner to ask them how many times Nancy Pelosi has bailed them out in order to advance the country.
    Then, call Pelosi.