Pelosi, Romney restore America's faith in democracy

The National Prayer Breakfast has been an important event that presidents have customarily attended for the past 63 years. On the morning of every first Thursday in February, commanders-in-chief, both Republican and Democrat, have attended this bipartisan event as a signal of unity and national strength, and to contemplate the role that faith and religion play in American life.   

Until now, every president has used this opportunity to call for harmony, to pray for strength, to ask for prayers from leaders and voters regardless of political party. They’ve all shown some semblance of humility in the face of the awesome responsibility that comes with being leader of the free world.

Enter Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE. In his typical “bull-in-a-china-shop” fashion yesterday, Trump shredded the history and the established norms of behavior of this solemn and somber event.

ADVERTISEMENT

Characteristically, he used it to stroke his own ego, to spike the football after an acquittal and to shamelessly and menacingly attack and insult both Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Trump slams 'rogue' Sasse after criticism of executive actions MORE (R-Utah), the only Republican who voted to convict Trump, and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Bass on filling Harris's Senate spot: 'I'll keep all my options open' Win by QAnon believer creates new headaches for House GOP MORE (D-Calif.), whose handshake Trump snubbed at the State of the Union, and who famously showed him up by ripping his speech at its conclusion. 

The National Prayer Breakfast is a setting that calls for exactly the opposite of Trump’s partisan and nasty demeanor. 

Not that we should be surprised — it is Donald Trump after all. But it’s yet more evidence of Trump’s unfitness for office.

Trump’s supporters would say that Trump was the one unfairly attacked by a political party intent on removing him from office. But Trump was acquitted by his Republican Senate so most would say he won the day at least in the short term. Would it be too much to ask that the president act presidential instead of like a school yard bully?

It seems it is.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump’s behavior is especially jarring because Trump (in his and his supporters’ eyes at least) seemingly has emerged stronger for it. It would have been a much more powerful show of strength and character if he had put everything aside and shown some degree of civility and humanity.

In fact, most presidents would have shown humility and contrition after an impeachment battle, especially one in which a member of your own party historically votes to convict you. 

But humility and contrition are foreign concepts to Trump, so why should we ever expect him to demonstrate them?

We do so because he is the president of the United States. And no matter how vulgar, classless and demeaning Trump’s behavior has always been, we cannot lower our standards and normalize unacceptable behavior for a man who has shredded just about every norm since he took the oath of office three years ago. 

In announcing his vote to convict, Romney grew very emotional and explained how his faith had always been the foundation of his public and private life. He stated that Trump committed an egregious wrong, proving that Romney’s commitment and loyalty are to the truth, to our democracy and to the principles outlined in the Constitution. Would that more Republicans had shown that kind of courage. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Speaker Pelosi has committed the biggest sin of all in Trump’s eyes, and she cannot be forgiven for it: She is a woman with power who does not kowtow to Trump. 

Regardless, she has stated many times before that she prays for the president. She is a Catholic and has on many occasions talked about the role her faith plays in her life and in her politics.

Of course, prayer and faith are alien to Trump, except as concepts to exploit in an effort to win votes. Trump seems to have faith in nothing except pure brute strength and political vengeance. 

America should pray for Donald Trump. And let us also pray that voters will oust him in November. 

Maria Cardona is a longtime Democratic strategist and co-chair of the Democratic National Committee's rules and bylaws committee for the party's 2020 convention. She is a principal at Dewey Square Group, a Washington-based political consulting agency, and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.