It was a showdown over the shutdown.
President Trump threw an Oval Office “temper tantrum” Tuesday during a meeting with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, threatening to shut down the federal government over funding for his long-promised border.
Pelosi claimed she was trying to be the “mom” in the room, but later mocked the President’s manhood to fellow Dems.
The California Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Schumer accused Trump of toddler-like behavior after the pair left the contentious White House conference with the commander-in-chief.
Trump “must have said the word ‘wall’ 30 times,” Pelosi told House Dems during a conference later, according to an aide in the room.
“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” she said. “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”
The wall, for Trump, is a “manhood thing,” she added.
“This temper tantrum that he seems to throw, will not get him his wall, and it’ll hurt a lot of people, because he will cause a shutdown,” the New York senator said following the caustic powwow.
Trump exploded on the two lawmakers ahead of a tense closed-door meeting, repeatedly threatening to bring Washington to a standstill over funding for his U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, through military, through anything you want to call, I will shut down the government,” Trump said. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”
A shouting match ensued before the cameras as the trio talked over one another, interrupted each other and fired shots in a very public, partisan battle.
“And I am proud … I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” Trump railed at Schumer as Vice President Pence sat silently at his side.
Pelosi further raised the President’s ire when she referred to a looming budget gap as a “Trump shutdown.”
“A what?” he shot back.
“The American people recognize that we must keep government open, that a shutdown is not worth anything, and that we should not have a Trump shutdown,” Pelosi added.
Trump’s ultimatum comes as he calls for any spending bill to include $5 billion for a border wall. He has threatened more than once to allow a shutdown if he doesn’t get his way. Government funding runs out Dec. 21.
Pelosi and Schumer called on the President to end his partition obsession and support a bill that includes a half-dozen government funding bills largely agreed upon by lawmakers, along with a separate measure that funds the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Sept. 30, 2019. The homeland bill includes about $1.3 billion for fencing and other security measures at the border.
Constantly interrupting both Schumer and Pelosi, Trump squabbled with the pair over whether wall funding could be approved in the House or Senate without Democratic votes.
He also applauded his administration’s efforts to curb border crossings and repeatedly claimed large portions of the wall have already been built, though Congress has only passed funds to construct new fences or repair existing ones.
“This has spiraled downwards,” Pelosi said at one point, lamenting how the scene unfolded before the press and calling for an “evidence-based” assessment of what works at the border.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump threatened to circumvent Congress and use the military to build his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if he does not get funding.
The President assailed Dems for standing up to him over his border wall, which he vowed during his 2016 campaign would be paid for by Mexico.
“If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!” Trump tweeted.
Schumer noted after the heated meeting that only 6% of the $1.3 billion allocated for border security last year has been spent.
Pelosi said Trump “has the power to keep government open” and the “Trump shutdown is a luxury the American people cannot afford.”
The proposed border wall has been a cornerstone of Trump’s aggressive push to curb immigration and end illegal crossings.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump called for ramping up border security and cracking down on crime associated with people who have entered the country illegally. He also promised a “big, beautiful wall” that he said would be paid for by Mexico.
In the lead up to last month’s midterm elections, he stoked concerns about a so-called caravan of migrants heading toward the border and deployed thousands of troops to assist in border security.
While it was unclear if either side came out of the combative sitdown on top, one political insider called the made-for-TV moment pure Trump-style spectacle.
“It’s like watching a reality TV show,” the person said.
-New York Daily News