U.S.

Nancy Pelosi Suggests She Has Equal Power to Donald Trump in Meeting with European Leaders

While visiting Brussels this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told European leaders that President Donald Trump does not wield all the power in the United States and suggested that she is essentially his equal because of the “power of the purse.”

"We're not a parliamentary government even though we're parliamentarians," Pelosi said at a press conference, according to Politico. "We have Article 1, the legislative branch, the first branch of government, coequal to the other branches, and we have asserted ourselves in that way."

Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly, who was part of Pelosi’s delegation during the visit on Monday and Tuesday, elaborated on Pelosi’s remarks on the power of Congress.

“Is this a reassurance tour? I think it's a reminder tour, that the United States government is not just one branch,” Connolly said. “And as the speaker said, Article 1, the first article in the Constitution of the United States, deals with the powers of the legislative branch, not the executive branch, and those powers include war and peace and even direction of the armed forces."

Pelosi added, "And the power of the purse," referring to the fact that it is up to Congress to authorize budget requests by the president to fund executive agencies.

The House speaker proved her power late last month when she and other congressional Democrats refused to provide $5.7 billion in funding that Trump demanded to build his border wall, eventually forcing him to relent and temporarily reopen government without any of the money.

After a negotiation period, Trump reluctantly signed a bipartisan deal that allocates only $1.375 billion for 55 miles of wall, to prevent another government shutdown. Last Friday, Trump declared a national emergency in an attempt to get the rest of the funding needed for the wall.

nancy, pelosi, donald, trump, power, equal Speaker Nancy Pelosi greets President Donald Trump just before his State of the Union address on February 5. This week, Pelosi told European leaders that Trump is not all-powerful as president because Congress has the power of the purse. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Following Trump’s national emergency declaration, Pelosi tweeted that he took the action because she and her colleagues would not give him what he wanted.

“Clearest sign that @realDonaldTrump’s #FakeTrumpEmergency is not legitimate? The President himself says he didn’t need to declare a national emergency–it’s just a faster way to force taxpayers to foot the bill after Congress wouldn’t let him have his way,” she tweeted.

In Brussels, the European Union's unofficial capital, Pelosi also tried to do damage control for trans-Atlantic relations that have been hurt by criticisms from Trump. A European colleague asked Pelosi why the House did not adopt a resolution supporting NATO sooner.

"I said, Because we just got the majority and then we can control, we can manage, what goes onto the floor," Pelosi said.

Correction (02/20/19, 9:25 a.m. ET): The headline for this story has been updated to correct the fact that Pelosi did not explicitly state that she had equal power to Trump, but by reminding European leaders that Congress is equal to the executive branch, she suggested it.

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