President Trump said he told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to “get these phony investigations over with.”
President Donald Trump abruptly ended Wednesday’s White House meeting with Congressional Democrats about an infrastructure package after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier in the day he was “engaged in a cover-up.”
“Instead of walking in happily to a meeting, I walk in to look at people that had just said that I was doing a cover-up,” President Trump told reporters. “I don’t do cover-ups.”
He said he walked into the meeting and told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Pelosi, “I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I’d be really good at that, that’s what I do. But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.”
Pelosi met with the Democratic caucus prior to the White House meeting, and she and committee chairmen pushed members to hold off on impeachment proceedings and wait for the result of current investigations, The Wall Street Journal reported.
President Trump and Congressional Democrats were scheduled to hold a second round of infrastructure discussions after agreeing to aim for a $2 trillion package last month. A Democrat informed of the meeting said the president did not shake anyone’s hand or sit in his seat and that he said he wanted to advance legislation on infrastructure, trade and other areas but Pelosi had said something “terrible” by accusing him of a cover-up, The New York Times reported.
President Trump told Democrats he wouldn’t operate on two tracks and would talk about legislative priorities once their investigations are done, a person briefed of the meeting said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“I’ve said from the beginning — right from the beginning — that you probably can’t go down two tracks,” President Trump told reporters. “You can go down the investigation and you can go down the investment track or the track of let’s get things done for the American people.”
The president left the room after three minutes before anyone else could speak and went to the Rose Garden, the Democrat said, according to The New York Times.
“For some reason — maybe it was lack of confidence on his part — he really couldn’t match the greatness of the challenge that we have,” Pelosi told reporters after the White House meeting. “It wasn’t really respectful of the Congress and the White House working together. He just took a pass and it just makes me wonder why he did that.”
Schumer said, “To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop.”
The president sent Pelosi and Schumer a letter Tuesday, writing that Congress should pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before turning “our attention to a bipartisan infrastructure package.” He also wrote that Democrats should have their top priorities and specifics about how much funding they would like dedicated to each prepared for Wednesday’s meeting. Schumer said he had a 35-page plan detailing the plans.
“We were interested — we are interested — in doing infrastructure. It’s clear the president isn’t,” Schumer said. “He is looking for every excuse, whether it’s let’s do trade first or whether it was he’s not going to pay for any funding or whether today that there are investigations going on.
“Hello! There were investigations going on three weeks ago when we met, and he still met with us,” he continued. “But now that he was forced to actually say how he’d pay for it, he had to run away and he came up with this preplanned excuse.”
President Trump addressed reporters in the Rose Garden behind a podium with a sign that read “No collusion, no obstruction,” and he gave statistics about the cost and duration of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“We want our Congress to perform its Constitutional responsibilities and create jobs, create income, create wealth for the average American,” Schumer said. “We can do both. It’s clear the president doesn’t want to do any of that.”