President Donald Trump reportedly walked out of a scheduled meeting with top Democrats to discuss infrastructure at the White House on Wednesday, telling reporters afterward he won’t negotiate new legislation as long as he’s under investigation.
TRUMP: “I don’t do cover-ups. Get these phony investigations over with.”
Wednesday’s meeting was to be the second infrastructure sit-down between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and other top Democrats.
Trump’s abrupt cancellation of the meeting likely stems from comments made earlier in the day by Pelosi, who accused the president of a cover-up by blocking aides from testifying and refusing to turn over documents related to the Mueller investigation, as well as inquiries into his tax returns and other financial documents.
“We believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up,” Pelosi told reporters.
“I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure’ … but we can’t do it under these circumstances,” Trump said. “I don’t do cover-ups. Get these phony investigations over with.”
The meeting reportedly lasted less than 10 minutes before Trump walked out, saying he wants to do infrastructure “but you’re focused on investigating. When you’re done we can talk. Meeting over.”
“I knew the president was not serious about infrastructure and would find a way out,” Pelosi said afterward.
Trump’s walkout was clearly planned in advance because as he addressed reporters, he had a sign placed in front of his podium that reads: “Mueller investigation, by the numbers: $35+ million spent, 2,800+ subpoenas, 675 days, 500+ witnesses, 18 angry Democrats. No collusion. No obstruction.”
“It’s clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the president’s part. It was planned,” Schumer said.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., complained afterward about “high drama in the cabinet room.”
“We were all invited, Democratic leaders, for the follow-up meeting on infrastructure. Everyone showed up, sat in their chairs, the president walked in the room and announced he was not going to go forward with the meeting; he was cancelling it,” Durbin said. Trump “objected to the continued investigation of obstruction of justice. He said he cooperated and gave his side of the story, as we’ve heard before.”
Pelosi and Schumer added to the melodrama, claiming Trump’s actions “would make your jaw drop.”
“I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States,” Pelosi said.
A previous meeting on infrastructure between the two sides in April ended much more amicably as they agreed to a package of about $2 trillion in funding. There has been no indication of what the next steps would be until Wednesday.
“We’re doing a lot without them. Let them play their games,” Trump said of the Democrats. “We’re going to go down one track at a time. Let them finish up and we’ll be all set.”
Trump then took to Twitter to voice his frustrations.
“So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country,” he tweeted. “They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40M and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work. But they really want a do-over! You can’t investigate and legislate simultaneously — it just doesn’t work that way. You can’t go down two tracks at the same time. Let Chuck, Nancy, Jerry, Adam and all of the rest finish playing their games.
“Democrat leadership is tearing the United States apart, but I will continue to set records for the American People – and Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2019
Editor’s note: Who is overreacting here, Trump or the House Democrats? Is Trump right that the investigations should end, or should he stay out of Congress’ legal oversight mandate? Share your thoughts below.