A White House meeting Wednesday between President Donald Trump and his team and congressional leaders quickly devolved into another series of finger pointing as the Situation Room confab ended shortly after it began.
Trump “got up and walked out” of the short meeting about his border wall and a government shutdown at the White House, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said.
He called Trump’s move a “temper tantrum” after the president “slammed the table.”
Appearing alongside her fellow Democratic leaders after the brief White House meeting, Speaker Nancy Pelosi emerged, calling the president “insensitive” to the plight of 800,000 federal workers wondering about future paychecks.
Watch: Trump says no sign of GOP disunity, may still declare national emergency
Back at the Capitol, Pelosi said she hopes Trump walking out of the meeting doesn’t mark the end of negotiations, but she noted the difficulty of having productive discussions without the two sides being able to agree to a set of facts.
“You cannot come to the conclusion if the president says it’s my way or the highway, there’s nothing to negotiate,” she said.
Asked how this meeting compared to past high-stakes negotiations she’s been involved in, Pelosi said, “It was not a high-stake negotiation. It was a petulant president.”
Trump did not talk about declaring a national emergency, she noted.
The president confirmed he walked out of the meeting, even as Vice President Mike Pence and others accused Democrats of being the ones who refuse to negotiate.
“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!” Trump tweeted.
Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
Pence called Democratic leaders “unwilling to even negotiate or even address this crisis at our southern border.” He said Trump asked Pelosi if he reopened a quarter of the government, would she then agree to talks about the border wall.
When she said no, Trump said “goodbye,” Pence said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy essentially called Schumer a liar, saying he listened to the New York Democrat’s version of the brief session and it was not true.
He said Schumer “continued to raise his voice” in a back-and-forth with Trump, who then “calmly” asked Pelosi about the way ahead.
“They continue to want to argue,” McCarthy said. “The way they have displayed their behavior is embarrassing. … I tell the Democrats to get back in the room,” he added. (The president was the one who actually left the room.)
Senate Majority Whip John Thune said Democrats refuse to budge “an inch” in the shutdown talks — even though they presented a list of border security technologies and other items in a proposal the White House sent to lawmakers Sunday.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise also took umbrage with Schumer’s account, saying, “Nobody slammed their hand on a table.”
Pence said Trump continues to mull a nation emergency declaration but thinks “Congress should do its job.”
Schumer continued to say Trump slammed his hand on the table, something GOP leaders say did not happen.
“The president threw another temper tantrum, slammed the table and walked out. We made a plea to him not to shut the government down because it’s hurting so many innocent people. What he said was ‘If I open up the government, you won’t give me what I want.’ Then a few minutes, he said to Nancy, ‘If we open up the government in 30 days, will you give me the wall?’ She said no. He did not say border security as he tweeted. He said the wall. And she said no. And he slammed the table. I think he said, ‘I’ve had enough. This is going nowhere.’ And he walked out. That’s it,” Schumer said back at the Capitol.