"Bye-bye": Trump walks out of meeting with congressional leaders
Washington — President Trump's meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and congressional GOP leaders in the Situation Room Wednesday afternoon ended abruptly, with the president walking out after Pelosi said she was unwilling to support a border wall soon if the government reopens.
"Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. 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!" Mr. Trump tweeted after leaving the meeting.
Mr. Trump and congressional Democrats are currently at an impasse over wall funding, as the president has refused to sign any legislation ending the partial government shutdown without sufficient money for the wall. Schumer said that Mr. Trump "slammed the table" and called the meeting a "waste of time" after Pelosi said that she did not support funding for the border wall. According to Schumer, Mr. Trump said Democrats would not do what he wanted if he opened the government before they agreed to wall funding.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy characterized the meeting differently, saying that Mr. Trump handed out candy to attendees before it began. He also denied that Mr. Trump slammed anything before leaving the meeting.
Vice President Mike Pence was asked how Mr. Trump walking out of the room is productive.
"I think the president made his position very clear today that there will be no deal without a wall," Pence said. "There will be no deal without the priorities the president has put on the table."
Pence said Democrats are welcome to return to the negotiation table anytime, after the president left the meeting.
- SNAP benefits and the shutdown: Funding extended only through February
- Trump declares border crisis, Democrats say he has "chosen fear"
But both sides agreed that the meeting was unproductive, as the partial government shutdown comes close to being the longest on record. Workers at affected federal agencies will go without their first paycheck this week.
It's unclear what comes next in the shutdown stalemate. Pence would not say whether Mr. Trump is any closer to declaring a national emergency to free up funding for his wall, something the president has considered doing.
The president insists the GOP is "unified," but cracks are beginning to show. GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowsi of Alaska and a few other GOP senators have suggested they want to reopen the government, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, said more GOP senators will defect "soon."
for more features.