Steyer Presidential Campaign Ad Pressures Pelosi By Name

Ad opens new possibility of aggravating split between Democrats

Tom Steyer / Getty Images

California billionaire and presidential candidate Tom Steyer has released a new commercial attacking fellow Democrat Nancy Pelosi for the upcoming congressional recess.

After citing ongoing debates over immigration, trade, and President Trump's rhetoric, Steyer said, "The Constitution is very clear, Congress has oversight of the president."

"So what's their response?" He continued. "They're going on vacation for six weeks. Seriously? We're in a crisis. That's why I'm asking Speaker Pelosi to cancel summer vacation and to conduct daily oversight hearings to hold Trump accountable for his crimes, corruption, and racism."

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The ad is the latest evidence that Steyer, although running as a Democrat, may not be willing to play nice with the party at large, and will likely make impeachment a campaign issue in a way that could make others in the party uncomfortable.

Additionally, by pressuring Pelosi by name, Steyer is introducing a wedge which can split Democrats just days after tweets from President Trump seemed about to catalyze a new party unity between Pelosi and the so-called "squad" of freshman representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday that Steyer gave the maximum donation in late June to three Democratic members of the House, all of whom had recently announced their support for opening an impeachment inquiry.

The new ad, posted to Steyer's Youtube channel Monday, could be used for broadcast television with its length of 60 seconds, but it is unclear at the moment if the ad will be used on TV, digital platforms, or both.

Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti said on NBC's Meet the Press last week that Steyer's entrance into the presidential race could reshape the conversation on the left about impeachment.

"That first presidential debate I think a lot of candidates wanted to talk about their agenda more than anything else," Continetti said. "Indeed, you heard the name Mitch McConnell mentioned more often than President Trump's. With Steyer's entry, you have someone who has always been for impeachment, and who, I think, will try to get the other candidates to commit one way or the other."

At the same time, Pelosi has attempted to stall movement on impeachment with Democrats in the House, where an impeachment inquiry would have to begin.

"For Democratic leaders, a mostly unspoken but widely understood goal since taking back the House has been to shepherd the caucus into the August recess without launching impeachment proceedings," Politico reported Tuesday. "They now have to hang on just three more days."