While Trump also makes clear that he doesn’t care much for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), it’s Pelosi who clearly angers the president most — a fury that has only grown since Democrats launched their fast-moving impeachment inquiry of Trump. The Trump vs. Pelosi episodes have led to some already legendary moments, but for…
While Trump also makes clear that he doesn’t care much for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), it’s Pelosi who clearly angers the president most — a fury that has only grown since Democrats launched their fast-moving impeachment inquiry of Trump.
The Trump vs. Pelosi episodes have led to some already legendary moments, but for all the wrong reasons. They’re textbook examples of dysfunction that would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high, both for them and for the nation.
There was the Oval Office debacle in Dec. 2018 — 17 minutes on camera where Trump tried to slap down Pelosi and Schumer on his border wall only to have Democrats punch back hard.
Or the January 2019 meeting — held in the midst of a record-breaking government shutdown — where Trump angrily banged his hand on the table in frustration and walked out.
And don’t forget Pelosi’s “clap back” at Trump during February’s State of the Union address, an episode that inspired a wave of Pelosi-themed t-shirts. In May, Trump angrily walked out of a planned White House meeting with Pelosi, Schumer and other top Democrats over a proposed $2 trillion infrastructure package after release of the Mueller report.
The new chapter in their feud had Pelosi and other top Democrats exiting a White House meeting Wednesday complaining Trump resorted to name-calling and personal insults. Their departure abruptly ended an attempt by congressional leaders in both parties to discuss Trump’s troop withdrawal from northern Syria.
During the latest session, Trump laced into Pelosi, launching into a “nasty diatribe” that culminated in him calling her a “third-rate politician,” according to Schumer.
Pelosi shot back after the meeting, saying Trump had a “meltdown” and was “rattled” by the House’s overwhelming bipartisan vote earlier Wednesday to condemn the president’s actions in Syria.
According to Democrats, Trump began Wednesday’s meeting with a “lengthy monologue” on Syria, and then “bragged about his ‘nasty’ letter” to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which the White House released afterward. Trump even distributed copies of the letter at the meeting.
At one point, “Trump suggested that there were communists in Syria and said Democrats would like that,” said a senior Democratic aide, although lawmakers said that comment was related to the Kurds.
Pelosi responded that Russia has always wanted a “foothold in the Middle East,” and blamed Trump for now giving one to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “All roads with you lead to Putin,” Pelosi declared, a Democratic aide said.
Trump later told Pelosi, “I hate ISIS more than you do,” to which Pelosi replied, “You don’t know that.”
During one exchange, Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for the mess in Syria, although part of his insult was aimed at Pelosi, too.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) then jumped in to back Pelosi: “This is not useful.”
As Trump took aim at her, Pelosi stood up to go. She began to sit back down until Hoyer suggested that Democrats should leave, according to a Democratic source familiar with the meeting.
The two top House Democrats then left, followed shortly after by Schumer, who had briefly stayed behind to press Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the fate of ISIS prisoners in Syria.
Republicans said Trump spoke with several others Democrats who remained in the room after their leaders left
Trump had one last shot for Democrats as they left. “Goodbye, we’ll see you at the polls,” Trump said, according to multiple sources in the room.
“That’s why we couldn’t continue in the meeting, because he was just not relating to the reality of it,” Pelosi told reporters outside the White House, flanked by Schumer and Hoyer. “I think the president was very shaken up.”
“I have served with six presidents, I have been in many, many meetings like this, never have I seen a president treat so disrespectfully a coequal branch of the government of the United States,” Hoyer added, calling the president’s words “offensive.”
During the meeting, Trump also insulted Mattis, calling him “the world’s most overrated general” and insisted, without evidence, that the ISIS fighters who escaped from Syria in recent days were the “least dangerous.”
Trump’s policy on Syria this month has triggered a bipartisan blowback unlike anything else in his presidency. Trump only seemed to further fuel his political mess on Wednesday by going after U.S. allied-Kurdish fighters, saying they were not “angels.”
That comment drew a rare rebuke from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who touted Kurdish support in fighting the Islamic State.
Democratic leaders also complained that Trump and his advisers were unable to answer any questions on the substance of the U.S. policy in Syria going forward, including the fate of ISIS prisoners who had been in Kurdish custody.
Trump suggested to reporters earlier in the day that Turkish and Syrian officials would take over responsibility for them.
“I asked the president what his plan was to contain ISIS. He didn’t really have one,” Schumer said, visibly angry outside the White House. “This is appalling.”