President Trump invited Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to the Oval Office on Tuesday to talk about the long-proposed border wall. It didn’t go well. As a wan, mute Mike Pence looked on, Trump, Schumer and Pelosi argued about everything from the legislative process, to whether border wall construction has started (it hasn’t), to the outcome of the midterms, which Trump sees a little differently than the rest of the nation.
“Excuse me, did we win the Senate?” Trump protested. “We won the Senate.”
“When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he’s in real trouble,” Schumer said to the camera, reinforcing the idea that the Trump administration is nothing more than a high-stakes reality show.
“I did,” Trump said, oblivious. “We did win North Dakota and Indiana.”
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) December 11, 2018
The gathering began with Trump interrupting Pelosi, who has served in Congress for over 30 years, to educate her on how the government works. Pelosi correctly pointed out that Republicans do not have enough votes in the House to fund the border wall, to which Trump replied that he could get the votes in “two seconds,” but to do so would be worthless because he also needs 60 votes in the Senate. “The fact is that in legislating, which is what we do, you make your point and state your case,” explained Pelosi. “That is what the House Republicans could do, if they had the votes. But there are no votes in the House for a wall.”
President Trump argues with Nancy Pelosi over government funding and potential shutdown.
Pelosi: "I think the American people recognize that we must keep government open … that we should not have a Trump shutdown."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 11, 2018
“Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk,” Trump said later.
“Mr. President, please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats who just won a big victory,” Pelosi fired back.
Trump has been clamoring for Congress to reach a resolution to fund the border wall before Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in January. On Tuesday morning, he unleashed a series of tweets about border security, capping the tirade off by threatening to circumvent Congress by ordering the military to start constructing the wall. “That’s how important it is!” the president wrote. Trump has also on multiple occasions threatened to shut down the government over the wall. Shutting down the government is not typically something that reflects well on a politician or his party. Nevertheless, Trump made sure to make clear that a shutdown over the wall will be his doing and his doing alone.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” Trump said.
“I will take the mantle,” he added. “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting it down. And I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
WATCH: Trump tells Schumer and Pelosi he would be "proud" to shut down the U.S. government if his demands for border funding aren’t met.
"I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it" pic.twitter.com/Dc20XsRdIL
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) December 11, 2018
“But we believe you shouldn’t shut it down,” said Schumer.
“Thank you very much, everybody!” Trump replied abruptly, dismissing the reporters who had gathered for this ridiculous glimpse of what the next two years Democratic control of the House is sure to look like.
Shortly after the meeting, Pelosi and Schumer issued a joint statement: “We gave the president two options that would keep the government open. It’s his choice to accept one of those options or shut the government down.”
Meanwhile, John Kelly looked on:
After most heated argument rarely heard in the Oval Office with press in the room, and after Pres says there are a lot of people who want his job, soon-to-depart Chief of Staff John Kelly smiles as reporters are shown the door. pic.twitter.com/CeoLLT7UlJ
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) December 11, 2018