Analysis: Nancy Pelosi just handed Trump a campaign gift

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In security footage obtained by Fox News, Pelosi is shown inside the salon without a mask. Fox also reported that the owner of the salon, Erica Kious, was angry that Pelosi had been allowed to violate the rules put in place during the coronavirus pandemic that mandates haircuts can only be given outside. Kious said it was “a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work.”

Pelosi’s office told CNN that the speaker had worn a mask for the entirety of her visit except for when she had her hair washed. (The security footage shows Pelosi with what appears to be wet hair.) “This business offered for the speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. “The speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment.”

Pelosi responded later Wednesday by saying, “I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighborhood salon I’ve been to over the years many times, and when they said we’re able to accommodate people, one person at a time, and that we can set up that time, I trusted that. As it turns out, it was a setup. So I take responsibility for falling for a setup.”

The problem is that Pelosi was told wrong. Hair salons can operate outdoors, according to new San Francisco regulations that went in place last Friday. Which she should have known. When you are the Speaker of the House and a very vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s flouting of best practices to limit the spread of Covid-19, you can’t rely on what a hairstylist tells you. You double check whether you are allowed to go into a salon. And whether you need to always be wearing a mask.

Because, if you don’t, this happens.

“Crazy Nancy Pelosi is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!” President Donald Trump, Wednesday morning.

And this.

“If Nancy Pelosi can get her hair done in person – you can vote in person. Pass it on.”@catturd2 (a right-wing troll account, which was then retweeted by President Trump).

What Pelosi did was hand Trump, whose entire strategy, such as it is, in the 2020 campaign is to troll liberals and media, a massive gift-wrapped present with her salon trip. For Trump and his Republican allies, the whole episode affirms everything they have been saying these last few years about liberals.

Whether Pelosi thought she was following the rules in place is lost entirely in the Trump campaign’s rush to use the incident as a symbol of the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do culture that they argue pervades the Democratic Party — on Covid-19 (and everything else.) This tweet, from Trump’s campaign, which the President also retweeted on Wednesday morning, gets at that point.

Pelosi knows that the Trump campaign isn’t going to give her the benefit of the doubt. Ever. And that they are always on the lookout for proof that liberal leaders actually have two standards: One for them and one for everybody else.

Given all of that, it’s hard to imagine why she would make a mistake like this one. It’s a totally unforced error — and one that allows Trump — for a day or two, at least — to change the subject from his handling (or mishandling) of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic that has sicked more than 6 million Americans and killed almost 185,000.

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