Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Los Angeles on Friday for HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and was welcomed with a fist-bump, some softball questions, and a PG-13 monologue from the show’s deferential host.
The Friday night episode was Season 17 premiere and Pelosi, the most visible and calmly capable of President Trump’s Washington foils, represented a booking coup for Maher and the producers of the HBO political punch-up show considering the historic impeachment proceedings underway in the nation’s capitol.
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The Speaker came with plenty to say, too. Pelosi framed this year’s election as a colossal crossroads moment. “Here’s what I do worry about: our country, in its greatness, can absorb one term by the present occupant of the White House. Not two terms.”
Pelosi said the impeachment effort got underway only when there was no reasonable alterntive: “The President was self-impeaching himself every day.”
The liberal leader also said there are no pardons for impeachment and no reprieve from history’s judgments. “Impeachment is forever. No matter what the Senate ever does it can’t be erased…He was disloyal to his oath of office. One he crossed that bridge it wasn’t a question of if he was worth it. The constitution was worth it.”
Pelosi said the famous Watergate book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein would require a revamped title if it was written about Trump and his cronies. “If they were to rewrite All the Presidents Men it should be written as All the Presidents Henchmen.”
Maher fluffed pillows for Pelosi with most of his questions. At one point, for instance, Maher described Pelosi as a mistreated national hero: “This is the person who saved the country from going into a depression by passing the stimulus, who saved the automobile industry, and got [trade agreement] passed and got health care [when] Obamacare got passed. You’re kind of our Iron Lady here on the left.”
So when Maher looks at Pelosi he thinks of Margaret Thatcher. But a glance at President Trump reminds him of a different UK icon: Tinky Winky. “A racist Telletubby,” was the actual term Maher used. Maher at one point also noted that Trump recently told his generals that he wouldn’t got to war with them. Maher deadpanned the reply from the military brass: “We know. We were in Vietnam.”
The show included a couple of show-biz zingers, too.
On attorney Alan Dershowitz and his record of clients, a list that includes Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and O.J. Simpson: Or, as Maher dubbed them, “Flabby, grabby, and stabby.” Maher also mentioned the looming Academy Awards and mused that Weinstein’s recent courthouse performance seems almost worthy of Oscar consideration as a standout performance with a walker.
The typically salty and pugnacious Maher had seemed more reserved than usual in his monologue a fact that even Pelosi noted after Maher introduced her as the top-of the-show guest. “I must say your opening was, shall we say….not [risque], not so much.” Maher looked abashed. “I was cleaning it up for you.”