The Washington Post editorial page today published a vicious editorial attacking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), calling her “ludicrous” and describing her bipartisan trip to Syria as an “attempt to establish a shadow presidency.”
The editorial rests on two claims, both of which are baseless.
1) Pelosi passed an incorrect message from Israel to Syria. Pelosi said yesterday that she gave Syrian officials the message that Israel is “ready to engage in peace talks.” The Post falsely claims, “The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message,” misinterpreting a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office that simply reiterated its position that talks with Syria will not take place until Syria has taken steps to end its support for extremist elements. There is no evidence that Pelosi failed to communicate this message. In fact, Pelosi’s delegation specifically pressed the Syrian president “over Syria’s support for militant groups and insist[ed] that his government block militants seeking to cross into Iraq and join insurgents there.”
2) Pelosi is attempting to “establish a shadow presidency.” This claim is directly contradicted by the Post’s own reporting this morning, which states, “Foreign policy experts generally agree that Pelosi’s dealings with Middle East leaders have not strayed far, if at all, from those typical for a congressional trip.” Pelosi herself has “described the trip as little different than the visit paid to Syria the same week led by Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA),” and she went to great lengths to express her unity of purpose with President Bush on terrorism issues. The Post’s own reporting today also cites several instances of members of Congress meeting with foreign leaders during the past 30 years. As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, in contrast with Pelosi’s trip, previous congressional actions abroad attempted to directly undermine President Clinton.
Fred Hiatt and the Post editorial page get it wrong on Pelosi just like they got it wrong on the recent Iraq legislation, the U.S. Attorney scandal, the CIA leak investigation, the decision to invade Iraq, and on and on and on.