He has come up with “Crooked Hillary”, “Little Marco”, “Lyin’ Ted”, “Crazy Bernie”, “Sloppy Steve” and “Cryin’ Chuck”. Donald Trump is the master of branding his opponents with crude names that somehow paint them into a corner. But so far one has eluded him: the woman he calls only “Nancy”.
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has emerged as his nemesis, the face of opposition to the president. As a partial government shutdown enters a record fifth week, the Democrat has been implacable in denying him $5.7bn to help build a border wall. This week she out-Trumped Trump, by effectively rescinding his invitation to deliver the State of the Union address.
Then, on Saturday, she released a sharply worded statement rejectingTrump’s proposed deal to end the closure – shortly before the president announced it from the Diplomatic Room of the White House.
“She’s not only outmanoeuvring him, she’s outraging him,” said Michael Cornfield, associate professor of political management at George Washington University in Washington. “She’s taunting him. She’s the matador, he’s the bull. He has no idea what he’s doing. He’s a genius of the publicity arts, not the political arts. In this he’s an absolute novice.”