Trump, Top Dems Spar in Oval Office Shouting Match Over Border Wall Funding
If Tuesday’s meeting between President Donald Trump and top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was any indication, the next two years in Washington will be even more contentious than the past two.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
Pelosi (D-Calif.), likely to be the next House Majority Leader, and Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Minority Leader, came together along with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for a photo op before proceeding to engage in a highly contentious debate on funding for the border wall.
Each side shouted, pointed fingers and constantly interrupted the other as they bickered over policy, money and politics. Schumer even accused the president of throwing a temper tantrum.
The meeting went on in front of the press for roughly 20 minutes with Pelosi begging the president to continue off camera before Trump finally dismissed the media.
Pelosi and Schumer repeatedly asked the president not to shut down the government, and at first he said he wouldn’t before later throwing down the gauntlet.
Trump, who said countless times on the campaign trail that Mexico would pay for the wall, said he absolutely will shut down the government — and take the blame for it — if he doesn’t get the $5 billion he is asking for.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” Trump said. “I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
There was a lot of crosstalk before Trump declared a victory of sorts for Republicans winning seats in the Senate during midterm elections.
“And we gained in the Senate. Nancy, we’ve gained in the Senate,” Trump said. “Excuse me, did we win the Senate? We won the Senate.”
Schumer then fired back: “When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana (two red states), he’s in real trouble.”
Schumer also hit Trump over his claims about sections of the wall already being built, and Pelosi said “the president is representing his cards, and his cards over there are not facts.”
“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 at this uncertain time in their lives,” Pelosi said.
Schumer then said one thing both sides can agree on is that they shouldn’t shut down the government over a dispute, saying Trump has said he wants to shut it down at least 20 times.
“Twenty times — 20 times, you called for, ‘I will shut down the government if I don’t get my wall,'” Schumer said “None of us has said…”
Trump interrupted and again said he will indeed shut it down without border wall funding.
“You know what I’ll say?,” Trump said. “Yes, if we don’t get what we want one way or the other, whether it’s through you, through a military, through anything you want to call, I will shut down the government, absolutely.
“And I’ll tell you what, 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 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.”
Without an agreement next week, funding will run out for Homeland Security Department and other agencies such as the Justice Interior and Agriculture departments, which make up about 25 percent of the federal government. And if Tuesday was any indication for how the next two years will go, there will be a lot more shouting in Washington.
Click here to watch a video of the meeting in full.