With reporting from Nancy Cordes and Ed O'Keefe.
In a private meeting with senior members of her party after awith President Trump in the Oval Office, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi questioned Mr. Trump's manhood and compared him to a skunk, according to an aide in the room.
"I can't explain it to you. It was so wild," Pelosi told top Democratic legislators after her White House meeting with the president, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat. "It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you."
The veteran San Francisco lawmaker said she "was trying to be the mom" in the room when the president and Schumer began sparring over the possibility of a government shutdown if Democratic lawmakers did not budge on Mr. Trump's $5 billion demand to fund the construction of a wall on the southern border.
During the private meeting with her party's leadership, Pelosi linked Mr. Trump's masculinity to his infamous border wall pledge. "It's like a manhood thing for him," she said. "As if manhood could ever be associated with him. This wall thing."
Pelosi also bragged about getting the president to "fully own that the shutdown was his" and labeled it an "accomplishment."
In a contentious exchange with Schumer during meeting, Mr. Trump said "I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck."
"So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not gonna blame you for it. The last time you shut it down it didn't work. I will take the mantle of shutting down. And I'm gonna shut it down for border security," the president added.
Pelosi added that after the meeting concluded, Mr. Trump told her and Schumer, "We can go two routes with this meeting: with a knife or a candy."
"I said, 'Exactly,'" Pelosi told leaders of her caucus.
During one private conversation, Pelosi said she discussed with Mr. Trump "how good" she believed former Republican President Ronald Reagan was on immigration. She said she told Mr. Trump "you probably don't know who I spoke most about on the campaign trail – what president I spoke most about."
"He said, 'Donald Trump," Pelosi added. "I said, 'I never mentioned your name. I never mentioned your name, I'm talking about Ronald Reagan.'"
Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.