The proof was in the pens — and it was pathetic.
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally got around to signing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the mood in the Capitol was a far cry from the sham solemnity Pelosi pretended back in December when the articles first passed in the House.
Back then, a black-clad Pelosi tried to signal to the country how seriously Democrats were taking the prospect of trying to unseat a duly elected American president and overturning the will of the country’s voters.
Wednesday was a different matter, though, with Pelosi actually giving out souvenir pens to mark the occasion, like a Constitution attack on the president was something to celebrate.
It was so tacky, even CNN commentators objected.
“We’re used to seeing signing ceremonies, handing out pens, at moments of celebration,” CNN’s Dana Bash said during a panel discussion. “When a president is signing legislation. When, even sometimes, rare occasion, but it has happened, when the House sends over a landmark piece of legislation.
“It was unusual to see that kind of ceremony … handing out the pens and smiling for a picture in this kind of kind of situation where the House speaker has bent over backwards to say publicly and privately, ‘this is somber, this is not a time for a celebration.’”
CNN panel bashes Nancy Pelosi for handing out impeachment pens. It was a “jarring” “celebration” pic.twitter.com/oQlI8tgIW0
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 15, 2020
That kind of criticism is particularly noteworthy coming from Bash, who made a point of noting on Twitter that Pelosi was wearing mourning garb for the House vote in December.
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) December 18, 2019
But that was all theater — and if an experienced correspondent like Bash didn’t know it at the time, she should have.
The disguises were down on Wednesday, though.
As the souvenir pens made clear, for Democrats, impeaching the president was a moment to celebrate — no matter what it might cost the country.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Elizabeth Harrington used a Twitter post to note the contrast between what Pelosi was doing in the House and what Trump was doing in the White House on the same day — signing the first phase of a trade deal with China that’s likely to benefit millions of American farms and businesses.
“You know what you hand out pens for? Accomplishments. Like, say, signing a historic trade deal with China,” Harrington wrote.
You know what you hand out pens for? Accomplishments.
Like, say, signing a historic trade deal with China.
So it’s fitting that Democrats are handing out pens for their sole accomplishment: impeachment
Democrats have done NOTHING for the American people pic.twitter.com/SPKGrD0SkL
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) January 15, 2020
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham chimed in, too:
Nancy Pelosi’s souvenir pens served up on silver platters to sign the sham articles of impeachment…She was so somber as she gave them away to people like prizes. https://t.co/RMOiNeoMu0
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) January 15, 2020
Benny Johnson, chief creative officer at the conservative group Turning Point USA, summed it up perfectly, mocking Pelosi’s repeated statements that she was taking a “prayerful” approach to the confrontation with Trump — and his millions of voters.
Impeachment is so “Prayerful” that Pelosi was handing out pens in celebration.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 16, 2020
“Impeachment is so ‘Prayerful’ that Pelosi was handing out pens in celebration,” he wrote.
The sarcasm is understandable and unavoidable.
Any American paying attention knows that Democrats had decided on impeaching Trump before he was even inaugurated if they were ever in a position to do it.
After returning to the speaker’s chair in January 2019, Pelosi waited less than a year before green-lighting the impeachment process in the House.
No matter how “prayerful” Pelosi claims to have been — because of her devout Catholicism, of course — or what kind of stagecraft she puts on for a willingly gullible media, when Pelosi signed those articles of impeachment on Wednesday she was doing exactly as she’d always planned to do — and was celebrating it.
The proof was in the pens. And it really was pathetic.