• Pelosi supporters and more moderate Democrats praised the one-two punch of impeachment and the trade deal, arguing that Democrats need to prove they can "walk and chew gum at the same time."
  • Behind closed doors, Pelosi insisted that Democrats had the upper hand on the trade deal and out-strategized the GOP. "We ate their lunch," she told her caucus of the White House.
  • But critics of the strategy insisted the trade deal undermines Democrats' claim that the president is dangerously unfit for office and lends credence to Trump's argument that he's getting his job done.
  • "Either the Republic is in danger and impeachment is necessary, or it's not that big a deal and congress can do business as usual," Adam Serwer, a progressive writer at The Atlantic, tweeted.
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Tuesday morning was a busy one for House Democrats.

By 10 am, Speaker Nancy Pelosi had both unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump and announced that Democrats had reached an agreement with the president on a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Democrats were somber in announcing the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president. But the mood was almost jubilant an hour later when Pelosi praised the White House-led United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which she said Democrats take "great pride in." Democrats touted their efforts in securing various environmental and labor regulations in the deal, which Mexico and Canada are both expected to sign in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Trump took a break from bashing Democrats over impeachment to promote the deal.

"Looking like very good Democrat support for USMCA. That would be great for our Country!" he tweeted .

Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday that Democrats didn't have much control over the timing of either development.

The impeachment hearings concluded on Monday, so it only made sense to unveil the articles of impeachment on Tuesday, she said. And US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has led the USMCA negotiations, wanted to finalize the NAFTA replacement before Congress goes on recess and while Democrats and Republicans remain on the same page.

"It's not a coincidence, it's just as we get to the end of a session there have to be some decisions made," the speaker told reporters during a press conference. "We didn't know what day it would be."

'A stunning betrayal'

Behind closed doors, Pelosi insisted that Democrats had the upper hand on the trade deal and out-strategized the GOP.

"We ate their lunch," Pelosi said in a caucus meeting, according to CNN reporter Manu Raju.

Pelosi supporters and more moderate Democrats praised the one-two punch of impeachment and the trade deal, arguing that Democrats need to prove they can "walk and chew gum at the same time." But many progressives slammed the strategy, arguing that the USMCA deal undermines the party's case for impeachment.

"Congrats to house democrats for handing trump a nice bipartisan victory on the same day they announced their articles of impeachment. definitely not a muddled message," Jamelle Bouie, a progressive New York Times columnist, tweeted .

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on the USMCA trade agreement on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on the USMCA trade agreement on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Reuters

Critics of the strategy insisted the trade deal undermines Democrats' claim that the president is dangerously unfit for office and lends credence to Trump's argument that he's getting his job done despite an impeachment process he calls a "coup."

"House Dems were elected on a wave of anti-Trump sentiment and are now diligently working to ensure his reelection and send the message to the electorate that impeachment is just meaningless partisan theater," Adam Serwer, a progressive writer at The Atlantic, tweeted . "Either the Republic is in danger and impeachment is necessary, or it's not that big a deal and congress can do business as usual."

Some argued that Democrats are fulfilling the "Dems in disarray" stereotype and mistakenly looking to appease swing voters.

"Nothing more perfectly embodies the Democratic party than announcing articles of impeachment and a huge deal with the President on his single biggest priority on the same day," tweeted Chris Hayes, the progressive MSNBC host.

Will Sancil, a researcher at the University of Minnesota Law School, called Pelosi's strategy "insane."

"This isn't 12-dimensional chess, it's just House Democrats spinning wildly in place, trying to square two incompatible facts: their irresistible desire to look sober and bipartisan by always compromising [and] the absolute objective unacceptability of Trump," he tweeted . "And the result is lunacy."

Brian Beutler, editor-in-chief at the progressive media outlet Crooked Media, called Pelosi's strategy "a stunning betrayal."

"If you kill the deal you can say it was a shitty deal, like everything else Trump has done and that you'll do better," he tweeted. "If you pass the deal you tell voters yeah president deals actually did a good deal just like he promised. It's insane."

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