Paul Pelosi attack shocks country on edge about democracy threats
This is a political cartoon depicting House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. The House Democratic caucus meeting to vote on a gun control bill was held without leadership. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON — A week ago, Vice President Joe Biden left Washington for a nine-day trip to Poland, Israel and France. But on Thursday, Biden returned from his trip to Washington, where he told a packed meeting of the Democratic caucus that American democracy is under a “crisis of confidence.”
“I’m not the only person to say that,” Biden told members of the caucus he met behind closed doors, according to a senior Democratic aide. “There’s a lot of people with a lot of ideas who agree with it. But our democracy is at crisis of confidence.”
A key lawmaker from another party, Rep. John Boozman of Arkansas, also spoke during the debate, and at times he rose in the chamber to object when Democrats said they wanted a vote on a bill to expand background checks on gun sales. But he did not stop the vote from taking place. The roll call showed a majority for the vote but was still a minority. The measure, House Democrats’ first gun control bill after gunwalker and mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school last month, passed.
The vote on Thursday was the latest sign of a deep tension among party leaders over public opinion.
The latest polls suggest that after a year of a bloody presidential campaign, the nation is moving in the opposite direction from where many had predicted two years earlier — that the United States, once a model of democratic stability, is now sliding back into the chaos that has dominated much of the nation’s recent history.
At the White House’s daily briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest said that as the country has grown accustomed to “tumultuous” presidential elections, presidents “have come to realize that we may need to take greater steps to make sure that we remain secure.”
“For the president and the party, it’s no