House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) recently told Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer that his ad campaign calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment was a distraction.
Pelosi forced a smile and twice called the ad "great" when asked about it on MSNBC this month before quickly changing the subject, but she was privately annoyed with Steyer, Politico reported Wednesday.
Although Pelosi was able to shrug off the question on MSNBC, she told Democratic lawmakers at a leadership meeting soon afterward that she had reached out to Steyer, a California investor and multi-billionaire environmentalist, to tell him that his $10 million ad campaign was a "distraction."
A source close to Steyer told Politico the two have not spoken since the ad launched this month.
In the ad, Steyer calls Trump a "clear and present danger" who is mentally unstable, urging citizens to contact their representatives and support impeachment. Trump castigated the ad last week and called Steyer "totally unhinged."
Pelosi has refused to endorse efforts by some Democratic lawmakers to impeach Trump and believes a reputation as the "No Drama Democrats" is key to taking back the House of Representatives in 2018.
The California Democrat has discussed the "No Drama Democrats" strategy in recent leadership and caucus meetings, urging members to avoid talking about impeachment and Trump's Twitter bait that ends up dominating the conversation of the day.
"There's nothing any of us can say in Congress that is going to change people's view of Donald Trump," said Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Calif.), who agrees with Pelosi. "What they need is us to help them form their view of whether the Democratic Party is ready to lead."
The minority leader warned lawmakers of wading too deeply into Trump-created distractions, citing the controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling for the national anthem and his attacks on Rep. Frederica Wilson (D., Fla.) over his phone call to a fallen soldier's widow.
Instead, Pelosi encouraged members to stay focused on policy battles, indicating that she believes the Democrats will take back the House if Republicans go into the midterms without any major legislative accomplishments.