It goes without saying that no one has meant more to President Barack Obama's agenda than Nancy Pelosi. So when she abandoned ship and knifed his trade agenda last week at the last minute, it stunned the White House and created a rare, sharp schism at the top of Democratic leadership.
Before the vote, Obama mounted a full-court press to court the California Democrat and her flock, attending the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on June 11 (even bringing cold White House beer) before making an exceedingly rare trip to the Capitol to personally whip votes the next morning. Since then, the president and Pelosi are unofficially on a break.
Obama hasn't called her.
White House: Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game Example of Obama Outreach to Democrats
But he has called Speaker John A. Boehner multiple times to try and game out a new path for success. By Tuesday, the administration had basically abandoned any hope of an instant resolution to the trade impasse, and speculation has already switched to the highway bill — due by the end of the July — as the next best hope for a resurrection of Trade Promotion Authority.
He's also talked to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a phone call with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on Tuesday — a moment captured by a Roll Call photographer.
Earnest, asked repeatedly about Obama's relationship with Pelosi, noted the baseball game and caucus meeting appearances.
"The president was introduced in that meeting by Leader Pelosi directly. Incidentally, after the president was introduced, he received a standing ovation from everybody in the room, including Leader Pelosi," he noted.
But since the vote, while White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough has touched base with Pelosi, the president has not.
"I certainly wouldn't rule out a future call to Leader Pelosi," Earnest said.
We presume while he's still president.
Boehner and Obama at least have a cordial relationship even if the Ohio Republican's ability to deliver votes over the years has rarely matched Pelosi's — until last week, when the standard script flipped.
Pelosi and Obama could mingle at Wednesday's congressional picnic for lawmakers and their families on the South Lawn of the White House.
"She's certainly invited," Earnest said.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said she plans to attend.
Earnest, asked separately about whether Obama would try and get trade votes at the picnic, said not to expect any arm-twisting.
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