The president called off bipartisan negotiations on infrastructure after Pelosi accused him of a ‘cover-up.’
President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi engaged in a public and bitter feud on Wednesday, with the president breaking off bipartisan negotiations over Pelosi’s accusations of a cover-up and Pelosi bluntly responding: “I pray for the president of the United States.”
The breakdown came as Trump declared he will not work with Democrats as long as they are investigating him. The explosive encounter at the White House shattered a feeling of good bipartisan vibes stemming for positive budget talks on Tuesday and startled attendees, who said Trump made them wait, complained about their probes, canceled the meeting and left in a span of just a few minutes.
“It wasn’t really respectful of the Congress and the White House working together. He just took a pass,” Pelosi said at a news conference after she returned to the Capitol. “I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States of America.”
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who attended the White House meeting, said it was “high drama in the Cabinet room.”
“I don’t know where this leaves us as a nation. We have so many things that have to be done for this country and they can’t be done unless we work together,” Durbin said. “If the president walks out of the meeting, it’s a setback for the country’s priorities.”
Three sources familiar with the meeting said the president arrived late and vented about Pelosi’s criticisms of him. Trump was “clearly furious” when he came in the room, according to Democratic sources and ranted at them for several minutes. He complained that Pelosi had accused him of all these “horrible, horrible things,” and he said Democrats were “disrespectful.”
Then Trump stormed out of the room without Democrats even getting a chance to speak. Pelosi was also angry and said she “knew he was never serious about infrastructure” as administration staff were in the room.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it was a “planned” stunt.
“He is looking for every excuse,” Schumer said at the news conference in the Capitol. “The investigation was going on three weeks ago when we [first] met” on infrastructure.
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