WASHINGTON — When President Trump is battling a man, he tends to belittle his foe with nicknames like “Cryin’ Chuck” and “Low-energy Jeb.” When he is in a fight with a woman, he is known to lob insults like “horseface” and “ugly” and “dog.”
But Mr. Trump has never before faced an adversary like Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Their latest clash, over the State of the Union address, ended with the president capitulating late Wednesday night, and agreeing to delay the speech until the government shutdown is over. Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump tried to back Ms. Pelosi into a corner by saying he intended to give the speech next Tuesday in the Capitol. She called his bluff and disinvited him.
For a president who prides himself on being a master negotiator, Ms. Pelosi is a different kind of opponent, and one who so far has flummoxed him.
Longtime friends of the president say Mr. Trump is not afraid of powerful women, respects them and has empowered them at the White House and in his business. But on the rare occasion when he was challenged by a woman, Mr. Trump was either in charge — or knew the woman had a boss, usually a man, to whom he could appeal, said Barbara A. Res, a former executive vice president of the Trump Organization.
In this case, Ms. Pelosi is her own boss. And under the Constitution, she is a leader of a branch of government that is equal to the chief executive.