Barack And Nancy’s Potentially Terribly Awkward Week Ahead

Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, James Clyburn
The Associated Press

After House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi opposed President Obama on trade, the White House tried to put a positive spin on the news, even though the president must have been deeply disappointed with her decision.

“The President has enjoyed a very long, warm, productive relationship with Nancy Pelosi,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters who questioned the strength of their relationship on Friday after Obama’s trade vote was crushed in the House.

(White House photographer Pete Souza)

But Pelosi and Obama have an awkward social week ahead of them, if the House of Representatives tries and fails to pass the trade vote early this week.

Wednesday, the pair are likely to test the warmness of their relationship at the Congressional picnic, where Obama will be forced to personally address his relationship with Congress during his remarks.

In 2014, Obama praised both Speaker John Boehner and Pelosi for showing that they were united on National Security issues.

This year, however, Obama will be in the awkward position of trying explain why he still needs more Democrats to help him pass his trade agenda, while the majority of Republicans in Speaker Boehner’s party voted in favor of the legislation.

The following morning, Obama leaves for California for a series of fundraisers for the Democratic party.

As one of the most prominent Democrats from California, Pelosi is likely to attend many if not all of his events.

On Friday, Obama and Pelosi are scheduled to attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser at the home of environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer in California.

As the theme of the event is the return to a Democratic majority in Congress, Obama traditionally praises Pelosi, while encouraging donors to help Democrats give her back the speaker’s gavel.

“A woman I love – she’s spoken for, as am I – but I do love her, because she is tenacious, brilliant, tough, a master politician, and somebody who deserves to once again be Speaker of the House — Nancy Pelosi,” Obama said at a DCCC fundraiser last year.

Before the trade vote last week, Obama visited Pelosi at the Congressional Baseball game on Thursday, and again on Friday, traveling personally to Capitol Hill for last minute lobbying effort.

Once in Pelosi’s office, according to reports, she informed Obama that she would likely oppose the vote on TAA, essentially killing any chances the vote had of succeeded.

As they left the meeting together on Friday, they smiled for the cameras, faking a personal unity that wasn’t entirely there.

(image via Associated Press)

Once the vote failed, Earnest was reluctant to discuss details of the meeting with Pelosi and Obama, but indicated that their history together was bigger than the moment.

“The reason they’re all smiles is because that [they] have a warm, constructive relationship that has yielded a lot of benefits for the American people,” he said. “And there is so much of what the President has accomplished that wouldn’t have been possible without somebody like Leader Pelosi.’

That may have been true in the past, but wealthy Democrats may have to position themselves for an awkward event this week if Pelosi continues to block Obama’s agenda.