Pelosi warns Democrats of liberal ‘menace’ ahead of 2020 vote

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., center, smiles as she stands between Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, left, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as Democrats rally outside the Capitol ahead of passage of H.R. 1, "The For the People Act," a bill which aims to expand voting rights and strengthen ethics rules, in Washington, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Pelosi warns Democrats of liberal ‘menace’ ahead of 2020 vote

  • Pelosi touted her own liberal upbringing and accomplishments representing the deeply Democratic voters of San Francisco

LONDON: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday her Democratic Party must avoid the “menace” of liberal policies pushed by rising political stars if it wants to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
The top congressional Democrat used an appearance at the London School of Economics to set out a centrist vision that could help woo Republican voters frustrated with Trump’s approach.
She followed standard US diplomatic protocol of senior officials not criticizing the president while abroad.
But she made explicitly clear that new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — an emerging force in US politics who is often simply referred to as AOC — and fellow young progressives elected in 2018 represented only the margins of American society.
“When we won this election, it wasn’t in districts like mine or Alexandria’s,” Pelosi said in reference to the November midterms in which the Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives.
“Those are districts that are solidly Democratic — this glass of whatever would win with a D next to its name in those districts,” said the Speaker after picking up a glass off a coffee table.
Pelosi touted her own liberal upbringing and accomplishments representing the deeply Democratic voters of San Francisco.
“I can compare my liberal credentials across the board. I said to them: ‘Anything you’re about, I got that sign in my basement 20 years ago’,” Pelosi said.
But “what we are saying is, to have a message that appeals to people in a way that does not menace them,” she said.
“I share those values — but we must win.”

Pelosi is officially in London to gauge progress in Britain’s stalled efforts to withdraw from the European Union after 46 years.
But her stay has coincided with an ugly war of words that has pitted Trump against the new breed of Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.
Trump accused Omar — the first black Muslim woman elected to Congress — in a tweet Monday of making “anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful US HATE statements.”
Their latest spat concerns Omar’s remarks about the treatment of American Muslims since the September 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington.
Yet Omar’s comments about US political backing for Israel being fueled by money from a pro-Israel lobbying group led to criticism from both sides of the political aisle.
Pelosi used a meeting with Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday to speak out against anti-Semitism in politics.
She tweeted after the meeting that she and Corbyn discussed the importance of “protecting human rights, and the necessity of forcefully confronting anti-Semitism & Islamophobia.”
Corbyn has been under pressure from Jewish groups to more thoroughly investigate and clamp down on anti-Semitic incidents involving Labour members.
But Pelosi also stuck up for Omar in her current standoff with Trump.
“I don’t think any president of the United States should use the tragedy of 9/11 as a political tool,” Pelosi said.


US envoy ‘disappointed’ by collapse of inter-Afghan peace meeting

Updated 4 min 9 sec ago
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US envoy ‘disappointed’ by collapse of inter-Afghan peace meeting

KABUL: The US envoy for peace in Afghanistan expressed disappointment on Friday after the collapse of a planned meeting between the Taliban and a group of Afghan politicians in Qatar that exposed some of the deep divisions hampering efforts to end the war.
A 250-strong delegation of Afghan politicians and civil society figures had been due to meet Taliban officials in Doha at the weekend. The event was abruptly canceled on Thursday amid arguments over the size and status of the group, which included some government officials attending in a personal capacity.
“I’m disappointed Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative has been delayed,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, said on Twitter. “I urge all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans.”
The collapse of the meeting before it had even started, described as a “fiasco” by one senior Western official, laid bare the tensions that have hampered moves toward opening formal peace negotiations.
Khalilzad, a veteran Afghan-born diplomat, has held a series of meetings with Taliban representatives but the insurgents have so far refused to talk to the Western-backed government in Kabul, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.
The Doha meeting was intended to prepare the ground for possible future talks by building familiarity among Taliban officials and representatives of the Afghan state created after the US-led campaign that toppled the Taliban government in 2001. A similar encounter was held in Moscow in February.
President Ashraf Ghani’s office blamed Qatari authorities for the cancelation, saying they had authorized a list of participants that differed from the one proposed by Kabul, “which meant disrespect for the national will of the Afghans.”
“This act is not acceptable for the people of Afghanistan,” it said in a statement on Friday.
Sultan Barakat, director of the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Qatar, which had been facilitating the meeting, said there was no disagreement about the agenda.
“Rather, there is insufficient agreement around participation and representation to enable the conference to be a success,” he tweeted.
Preparations had already been undermined by disagreements on the government side about who should attend, as well as by suspicions among rival politicians ahead of presidential elections scheduled for September.
The Taliban derided the agreed list of 250 participants as a “wedding party.” Some senior opposition figures who had been included refused to attend.
The Taliban also objected to Ghani’s comments to a meeting of delegates that they would be representing the Afghan nation and the Afghan government, a statement that went against the insurgents’ refusal to deal with the Kabul administration.