After weeks of speculation and fears that she might launch World War III, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally touched down Tuesday night in Taipei, for an official visit to Taiwan. Contrary to proposed scenarios, the Chinese military did not shoot down her plane, though they did proceed with live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, and, this morning, sent military jets right up to the border, a demonstration of just how easily and quickly they could reach the island. A video allegedly taken in Fujian province, right across the water from Taiwan, appeared to show Chinese tanks rolling across the beach. China even banned imports of Taiwanese sweets as punishment for the Speaker’s visit.
But none of it kept Pelosi from landing. Dressed in a pink pantsuit and white pumps, Pelosi strode, unimpeded, onto a nighttime Taipei tarmac and reiterated “America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.” She also invoked Joe Biden’s favorite foreign policy mantra, saying that “the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.” It was a fitting tip of the hat to the president who hadn’t wanted her to go at all but, as a former senator who believes in the separation of powers, was reluctant to contradict her in public, only saying once that the U.S. military “thinks it’s not a good idea right now.”
Meanwhile, back home, a group of 26 Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, issued a statement of support for Pelosi, a rare moment of bipartisanship in Washington and a testament to Pelosi’s sharp political instincts heading into the midterms.