President Donald Trump assured Americans during his primetime television address Tuesday night that he only needed a “45-minute meeting” with Democrats to end the government shutdown and secure the $5.7 billion he's demanding for his border wall.
But when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuffed him during shutdown talks on Wednesday, Trump walked out of the room.
“Just left a meeting with Chuck [Schumer] and Nancy, a total waste of time,” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. “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 literally said the words “bye-bye” to Pelosi, a Democratic aide told the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey.)
Trump met with Democratic leadership, including Sen. Schumer and Pelosi, Wednesday afternoon to discuss border security, funding for a southern wall, and reopening shuttered government agencies. Pelosi’s reaction shouldn’t surprise Trump, though. She and Schumer have repeatedly said they won’t support the wall, including in their own primetime rebuttal after Trump’s speech from the Oval Office Tuesday night.
“We saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way, and he just walked out of the meeting,” Schumer said in a press conference after the meeting Wednesday.
“Our meeting did not last long,” Pelosi added.
Since the shutdown began 18 days ago, House Democrats have passed two spending bills that would have pumped money back into closed federal agencies and put nearly 80,000 federal employees back to work. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, wouldn’t bring those bills to a vote, largely because he knew the president wouldn’t support them. Trump even rejected a suggestion from his own vice president, Mike Pence.
After the failed meeting, the White House PR machine began spinning and even trotted Pence out to defend the border wall in another press conference with reporters.
“This is a president who feels very strongly about his commitment to see to the security of the American people,” Pence said when asked by a reporter about whether the president erupted on Pelosi.
Pence agreed Republicans wouldn’t reach a deal to reopen the government without the wall, although Trump has hinted at declaring a state of emergency to allocate resources toward construction.
The vice president also said the president gave Pelosi and Schumer some candy.
Cover image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, speaks about her oath of office as she stands next to Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., left, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., right, following their meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)