5 of the most heated moments between Trump, Schumer, and Pelosi in today’s Oval Office meeting
President Trump met with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on Tuesday in an effort to persuade Congress to provide money to build a wall at the Mexico border.
However, the meeting quickly turned heated as the three political heavyweights squabbled over border security and the midterm election results. (Vice President Pence, for his part, stayed largely quiet during the televised meeting.)
Here’s a look at five of the most contentious moments between Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer.
‘I am proud to shut down the government for border security’
As Pelosi took a more measured tone throughout the meeting, Schumer seemed more than happy to take on the “bad cop” persona, butting heads with Trump on a potential government shutdown.
“One thing that I think we can agree on is we shouldn’t shut down the government over a dispute, and you want to shut it down,” Schumer told Trump toward the end of the meeting in what appeared to be the most contentious exchange.
“The last time, Chuck, you shut it down, and then you opened it up very quickly. I don’t want to do what you did,” Trump said.
“Twenty times you have called for, ‘I will shut down the government if I don’t get my wall,’” Schumer said. “None of us have said it.”
Trump then appeared to get visibly upset, telling Schumer, “You want to know something? I’ll take it. You know what I’ll say? Yes. 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. And I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country, don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So I will take the mantle. 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 down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
“We believe you shouldn’t shut it down,” Schumer responded.
‘You don’t know what you’re talking about’
Pelosi, who is poised to become House speaker when the Democrats take control of the House in January, adopted an even tone as she urged the political leaders in the room to sort out their differences privately, instead of in front of the media.
“Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now, and I understand that,” Trump said.
Pelosi then cut in, telling Trump, “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 continued, “What the president is representing in his cards over there are not factual,” referring to talking points Trump brought into the meeting on the border wall. “We have to have an evidence-based conversation on what does work, what money has been spent, and how effective it is. This is about the security of our country. . . we don’t want to have that mischaracterized by anyone.”
“I agree with that,” Trump cut in.
“So let us have a conversation where we don’t have to contradict, in public, the statistics that you put forth, but instead can have a conversation about what will really work and what the American people deserve from us in this uncertain time in their lives,” Pelosi continued.
After the meeting, Pelosi had quite the zinger as she took questions from reporters outside the White House.
After one journalist asked if the behind-the-scenes meetings were more productive than the one showed to the American public on television, Pelosi had scathing words for those who criticized her as not wanting transparency.
“We don’t want to contradict the president when he was putting forth figures that had no reality to them, no basis in fact,” she said. “We have to, if we’re going to proceed in all of this, have evidence-based, factual, truthful information about what works and what doesn’t. I didn’t want to, in front of those people, say, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about.’”
‘That is a political promise’
As a reporter asked Trump if he could have border security without a wall, Trump replied, “You need the wall. The wall is part of border security. . . . We need border security. The wall is a part of border security. You can’t have very good border security without the wall.”
“That is not true,” Pelosi interjected. “That is a political promise. Border security is a way to effectively honor our responsibility —”
“And the experts say you can do border security without a wall, which is wasteful and doesn’t solve the problem,” Schumer said.
“It totally solves the problem, and is very important,” Trump put in.
“Unfortunately, this has spiraled downward,” Pelosi pointed out.
‘Excuse me, did we win the Senate? We won the Senate’
Pelosi might have tried to the get the meeting back on track — except she then began talking about topics that led to squabbling between the three over the recent midterm elections.
“Sixty people of the Republican party are losing their offices now because of the transition,” Pelosi said.
“And we’ve gained in the Senate. Nancy, we’ve gained in the Senate,” Trump interrupted, speaking over Pelosi. “Excuse me, did we win the Senate? We won the Senate.”
At that point, Schumer added in, “When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he’s in real trouble.”
Trump stared at Schumer for a moment before responding, “I am. We did win North Dakota and Indiana.”
‘I’d have it passed in two seconds’
Earlier on in the televised sit-down, Pelosi thanked Trump for the meeting, saying she hoped to solve the issue in a “bipartisan” way.
However, she then referred to trying to avoid a “Trump shutdown,” which led to some legislative posturing between her, Trump, and Schumer.
“You have the White House, you have the Senate, you have the House of Representatives. You have the votes,” Pelosi said.
“No, we don’t have the votes, because in the Senate, we need 60 votes,” Trump responded. “The problem is the Senate, because we need 10 Democrats to vote, and they won’t vote.”
“House Republicans could bring up this bill if they had the votes immediately and set the tone for what we want,” Pelosi pointed out in return.
“If we thought we were going to get it passed in the Senate, Nancy, we would do it immediately,” Trump said. “We’d get it passed very easily in the House. We would get, Nancy — I’d have it passed in two seconds. It doesn’t matter, though, because we can’t get it passed in the Senate because we need 10 Democrats.”
“There are no votes in the House, the majority votes, for a wall,” Pelosi said.
“That’s exactly right, “ Schumer added in.
“If I needed the votes in the House, I would have them in one second, we’d be done. It doesn’t help because we need 10 Democrats in the Senate,” Trump said. “We’re doing this in a very friendly way. It doesn’t help for me to take a vote in the House where I will win easily with the Republicans.”
“You will not win,” Pelosi responded.
“It doesn’t help to take that vote because I’m not going to get a vote in the Senate. I need 10 senators,” Trump said.