Donald Trump‘s negotiating session with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer spiraled wildly out of control on Tuesday, with the politicians viciously tearing into the president in plain view of reporters.
Pelosi informed him that his border wall wouldn’t pass in the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a majority of seats, if it came for a vote.
‘The fact is you do not have the votes in the House,’ she told him pointedly.
Trump angrily told the expected speaker of the House that funding for his wall would pass in ‘two seconds’ in the lower chamber, only it doesn’t matter because it won’t reach the 60-vote threshold in the Senate without Democratic support.
‘Nancy, I do. And we need border security,’ he retorted as the televised meeting devolved into utter chaos.
Schumer brought up Trump’s ‘Pinocchio’ score in the Washington Post, telling Trump that he said at least 20 times that he would use a government shut down as a negotiating tool.
‘We do not want to shut down the government,’ Schumer told him.
Donald Trump ‘s negotiating session with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer spiraled wildly out of control on Tuesday, with the politicians viciously tearing into the president in plain view of reporters
THANKS FOR NOTHING MIKE: The vice president sat silently as Trump argued with Pelosi and Schumer, almost as if he weren’t there
Trump angrily told the expected speaker of the House that funding for his wall would pass in ‘two seconds’ in the lower chamber, only it doesn’t matter because it won’t reach the 60-vote threshold in the Senate without Democratic support
‘The fact is you do not have the votes in the House,’ she told him pointedly. ‘Nancy, I do. We need border security,’ he retorted as the televised meeting devolved into utter chaos
Furious, the president said that he would shut down the government if they don’t give it to him
The Democratic leader insisted that Trump would be willing to force the lights off ’cause you can’t get your way.’
‘You just say, my way we’ll shut down the government,’ Schumer exploded.
Schumer invoked former President Barack Obama’s infamous retort, ‘elections have consequences,’ as the yelling match continued.
Obama once used the phrase as a shiv against Republicans during a fiscal package debate shortly after he was inaugurated.
Trump found himself on the other side of the slam on Tuesday as he bickered with Democratic leaders over funding for his border wall.
The president’s party lost the House of Representatives during the 2018 election. Pelosi is expected to win the gavel in the opening days of the next legislative session.
For twenty minutes, she and Schumer sparred with Trump on camera, emphasizing their long-stated position that he cannot have his border wall funding.
Furious, the president said that he would shut down the government if they don’t give it to him.
‘You want to put that on me I’ll take it,’ he rebutted as Schumer told him that the last government closure was his fault, too.
Trump had opened the meeting with a declarative statement that he was going to build his wall.
‘One way or another it’s going to get built. I’d like not to see a government closing, a shutdown. We will see what happens. … But the wall is an important thing to us,’ Trump said to the cameras.
In an ironic bit of foreshadowing, the president called the appropriation for his wall ‘the easy one’ and ‘maybe the easiest one of all’ as he broached the topic.
A moment later he backtracked and said: ‘I will tell you, it’s a tough issue because we are on very opposite sides of, I really think I can say border security, but certainly the wall. The wall will get built. A lot of the way is built. It’s been very effective.’
‘We may not have an agreement today. We probably won’t. But we have an agreement on other things,’ Trump said in closing.
It was Pelosi who lobbed the first the volley, telling him, ‘I think the American people that we must keep the government open. … We cannot have a Trump shutdown.’
Trump didn’t understand what she meant, and she explained, ‘You have the White House, you have the Senate, you have the House of Representatives. You have the votes.’
‘No, we don’t have the votes, because in the Senate, we need 60 votes,’ Trump told her. ‘The problem is the Senate, because we need 10 Democrats to vote, and they won’t vote.’
The tension in the room became ripe as Pelosi informed him that ‘House Republicans could bring up this bill if they had the votes immediately and set the tone for what we want’ and candidly told him how ‘legislating, which is what we do’ works on Capitol Hill, a place where Trump never worked having had no government experience before he ran for president.
‘If I needed the votes for the wall in the House, I would have them — in one session, it would be done,’ he responded.
She shot back: ‘Well, then go do it. Go do it.’
Trump told the two Democrats, ‘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.’
But Pelosi again informed him, ‘You will not win.’
Trump proceeded to claim that terrorists are infiltrating America through the porous southern border.
‘People are pouring into our country, including terrorists. We have terrorists. We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time. Ten. These are very serious people,’ he told her. ‘These are people that were looking to do harm. We need the wall. We need — more important than anything, we need border security, of which the wall is just a piece. But it’s important.
The conversation only went downhill from there, as Schumer accused Trump of wanting to shut down the government.
‘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,’ he said.
Trump said that was not the case. ‘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.’
Pelosi, who had tried to take the fight off-camera, then reminded Trump that the responsibilities of Congress are outlined first in the Constitution, before that of the president.
‘Let’s call a halt to this. We’ve come in here as the first branch of government: Article I, the legislative branch. We’re coming in, in good faith, to negotiate with you about how we can keep the government open,’ she stated.
The president told her that the government would stay open — if they caved to his border wall demands.
It was Schumer this time who said it was time to debate privately, a point the president and Pelosi agreed on.
‘We have taken this conversation to a place that is devoid, frankly, of fact. And we can dispel that,’ she asserted.
The three also agreed that border security is necessary to protect the country.
Trump took the small victory and announced: ‘See? We get along.’
Pelosi and Schumer addressed reporters on the North Lawn of the White House just minutes after the Oval Office blowup.
Pelosi and Schumer urged Trump to accept an offer of moving six spending bills but funding homeland security under current limits to avoid a blow-up over Trump’s border wall.
‘He says “We can pass it in the House, right now,” said Pelosi. He doesn’t have the votes in the House, to pass whatever his agenda is with that wall in it,’ she said.
‘We are telling him, we will keep the government open, with a proposal that Mr. Schumer suggested. Why doesn’t he just think about it? In fact, I asked him to pray over it,’ Pelosi, a Catholic, told reporters.
The leaders unloaded on Trump as they stood before a White House decorated with Christmas wreaths
Her counterpart, Schumer, is already calling it ‘this Trump shutdown,’ after the president said he wouldn’t blame Democrats if it happens during an angry exchange where both sides talked past each other.
‘This temper tantrum that he seems to throw -– will not get him his wall, and it will hurt a lot of people because he will cause a shutdown,’ said Schumer.
‘He admitted he wanted a shutdown. It is hard to believe that he would want that.’
Asked if things were any more productive behind the scenes, Pelosi responded: ‘You want to know who is more productive behind the scenes? I hear some of the reporters saying – well, a Fox reporter saying “Why do we not want transparency in this discussion question.” We don’t want to contradict the president when he is putting forth figures that have no reality … I didn’t want to in front of those people [say] “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.
Trump had earlier portrayed illegal immigrants as disease-carrying lawbreakers who must be blocked from entering the country by his proposed border wall on Tuesday morning.
Heading into the meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, Trump turned up the heat on Democrats, saying he would have the military build his border wall if Democrats refuse to appropriate the funding as part of a must-pass spending bill.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, accompanied by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., left, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, following a meeting with President Donald Trump
‘People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built. 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.
Trump claimed that Democrats are withholding the money ‘strictly political reasons’ and that they want to open America’s borders to Mexican and Central American migrants.
‘This brings large scale crime and disease,’ the Republican president claimed.
Trump had restrained himself from drawing a red line on border security spending in advance of the meeting at the White House with top-ranking Democrats after indicating in the fall that that he intended to go to the mat over it.
He had Washington on the edge of its seat this week as in a will-he or won’t-he government shut down debate. Trump had previously suggested that he would not sign a bill to keep certain areas of the government humming if lawmakers denied him a $5 billion ask to complete his border wall.
Such a move could backfire on Republicans, though, as the federal government devolved into chaos days before the Christmas holiday.
Trump unveiled a new strategy on Tuesday that is certain to be almost as controversial: circumvent Congress altogether and put the military to work building it.
A group of Democratic senators had informed the Trump administration just yesterday that the military cannot redirect funds to border wall projects.
They told the president’s Pentagon chief in a letter that a plan to build 31 miles of border barriers on a bombing range in Arizona was unauthorized and therefore illegal.
Trump hinted on Tuesday that he has plans for the military to do more than just put up walling along property under the control of the Pentagon — he wants to use the money he insisted the troops needed for weapons of war to have service members building a far-reaching border wall.
Democrats were already skeptical that an olive branch from the president – the Tuesday tete-a-tete with Schumer and Pelosi — would result an arrangement that both parties view as acceptable.
Even if it does, they worried the president will renege on anything he might agree to.
‘We’ve had limited success in dealing with this president,’ Sen. Dick Durbin told Politico. ‘His word isn’t good. Within 48 hours he reverses himself. It’s very difficult to enter into a long-term agreement.’
The president’s tweets on the morning of the meeting suggested that Trump would be open to signing a long-term spending deal, even if it doesn’t include money for his wall, because he’s going to order his administration to construct it, regardless of of whether he wins a green light from Congress.
‘Despite the large Caravans that WERE forming and heading to our Country, people have not been able to get through our newly built Walls, makeshift Walls & Fences, or Border Patrol Officers & Military. They are now staying in Mexico or going back to their original countries,’ the president said in his first message.
He went on to say that Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are doing a superb jog but a ‘Great Wall would be, however, a far easier & less expensive solution’ to border security problems.
‘We have already built large new sections & fully renovated others, making them like new,’ he claimed. ‘The Democrats, however, for strictly political reasons and because they have been pulled so far left, do NOT want Border Security.
‘They want Open Borders for anyone to come in. This brings large scale crime and disease. Our Southern Border is now Secure and will remain that way.’
Tying the comments directly to his discussion this morning with Democrats, the president contended that Pelosi, who is facing a challenge from within her caucus for the gavel, is opposing his wall to keep the left-wing of her party at bay.
‘I look forward to my meeting with Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security,’ he tweeted. ‘They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built.’
And then, in his big finale to the string of tweets about border security, Trump revealed his negotiating strategy.
‘If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall,’ he asserted.
Democratic senators warned the president’s Pentagon chief on Monday that a plan to use defense funds build border barriers in Arizona would be controversial if carried out and unauthorized.
Sens. Jack Reed, the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, Patrick Leahy, the vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Dick Durbin and Brian Schatz told Defense Secretary James Mattis in a letter that the Navy did not provide a compelling argument for studies on 31 miles of barriers along a bombing range near Yuma.
The project would divert as much as $450 million in funds that were intended for military readiness activities, they insisted.
‘We believe the Department of Defense lacks any authorization or appropriations needed to move this project into any stage of construction during fiscal year 2019,’ the senators said.
The White House had not taken an official stance on a long-term bill after approving a short-term agreement on Friday that delayed a decision to Dec. 21. A partial government shutdown will go into effect at midnight the next morning if the two sides cannot come to agreement.
In their letter, the senators told Mattis that he should not attempt to circumvent the legislative body by making use of a code that authorizes the military to provide a support role in counternarcotics operations along the border.
‘We urge you in the strongest possible fashion to refrain from considering using this authority or 10 U.S.C. 284 for this potential $450 million border wall project,’ they wrote.
Mattis has been considering the project at the Barry M. Goldwater Range at the request of Department of Homeland Security.
President Trump has identified Arizona as an area where border barriers are needed the most.
He said claimed on Twitter last Thursday that Arizona ‘is bracing for a massive surge’ of immigrants along a portion of the US southern border that does not have a protective fence.
‘Arizona, together with our Military and Border Patrol, is bracing for a massive surge at a NON-WALLED area. WE WILL NOT LET THEM THROUGH,’ Trump wrote in a post that maintained pressure on lawmakers seeking to approve legislation to keep the government open through to September 30 next year.
It remains unclear exactly what the president is offering Democrats in return for their support on his desired border wall spending. Pelosi has said she won’t trade the money for a permanent legislative fix to a program that addressed the plight of illegal immigrant children.
Democrats have signaled that they are willing to give Trump a third of the money he has laid out as a necessary for his wall but have stipulated that it can only be used for fencing.
Trump said early in the year that he wouldn’t accept an immigration deal that doesn’t include a total overhaul of the system, even if he does get his wall funding. Immigration subsequently became a wedge issue in the election, with Democrats ultimately winning their battle to control a majority of seats in the House and Republicans maintaining their advantage in the Senate.
They now appear to be at an impasse with the president who has also said he is ‘totally willing’ to force a government shutdown until they approve his proposed border wall spending.
Legislators in the House and the Senate passed a short-term bill to keep the engines running beyond this past Friday, when federal funding for some agencies was scheduled to run out. Trump agreed to the delay out of respect for the family of the late President Bush, whose funeral was held last Wednesday in Washington at the National Cathedral.
Trump has signaled that he’ll go to great lengths to get the funding he desires for his border wall, having repeatedly threatened to close the nation’s southern border.
Schumer and Pelosi are refusing to wrangle votes for any agreement that provides funding for Trump’s border wall, however. The best that Trump can hope for, Schumer says, is $1.6 billion in spending that he could put toward fencing and could not be used for any other type of border barrier.
He says Trump could otherwise accept a continuing resolution that appropriates $1.3 billion toward border security spending for the current fiscal year. If he doesn’t want a shutdown, those are his only options.
Trump claimed Friday that the wall would pay for itself in a single month.
‘We’re talking about a wall for 20 billion, 15 billion. I could even do it cheaper if I have to, and it’ll be better than anybody’s ever seen a wall,’ Trump claimed in a Kansas City speech to law enforcement. ‘Think of that. You’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars, and you’re talking about a fraction. You’d make it up in a month – a month! – by having a proper wall.’
The president declared illegal immigration ‘a threat’ to every American community that is ‘overwhelming public resources and draining the federal treasury.
‘Congress must fully fund border security in the year-ending funding bill. We have to get this done. They’re playing games. They’re playing political games,’ he proclaimed. ‘I actually think the politics of what they’re doing is very bad for them, but we’re going to very soon find out.’
Trump boasted to his audience: ‘Maybe I’m not right. But usually I’m right. Like, I said, “I’m going to win for president.” And some people said that won’t happen, and guess what? Look who’s up here now, folks?’
Trump pressured Democrats to fund his wall or grapple with a shut down of the border on Monday morning as he revived his immigration demands, despite the former president’s passing
As Bush’s body was headed to Washington to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol, the sitting president whacked Democrats and put new pressure on legislators to give him the $5 billion he needs to complete the structure
Trump told Democrats they could fund his wall or grapple with a shut down of the border last Monday morning as he picked a immigration fight.
He took another swat at the opposing party on Tuesday in a tweet that claimed $25 billion in border security spending could be erased if they would only spend $5 billion on completing his border structure.
The president has also said he’s more than willing to let funding for his cabinet agencies expire, calling it a political winner for the GOP.
‘We need border security in this country, and if that means a shutdown I would totally be willing to shut it down,’ he said last month. ‘And I think it’s a really bad issue for the Democrats.’
GOP leaders will not attend the negotiating session with Trump at the White House on Tuesday, leaving the president to do his own bidding.
A House Republican source told DailyMail.com that the caucus would support the measure that is already a part of the lower chamber’s Homeland Security appropriations bill.
‘How members in the Senate vote is entirely up to them,’ the person said.
But Republicans also fear being blamed for a future shutdown, and they are feeling pressure to finalize a budget agreement before Christmas.
The next Congress will likely convene at noon on January 3, at which point Democrats will have more negotiating power.
Pelosi has already slapped down a proposal to bring more of her members into the fold by trading the border wall for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
‘They’re two different subjects,’ she said. ‘I think what we can do, that makes sense, is to pass six bills where the members of the Appropriations Committee have come to terms. You heard me say it over and over, left to their own devices, the appropriators can come to a good conclusion, and then have a [continuing resolution] only for Homeland Security as we go forward. And that’s pretty much what our position is now.’
Trump last year formally invalidated the Obama-era program that spared that large group of non-citizens from deportation, but court rulings have tied his hands and the temporary amnesty has continued.
In the Senate, the president needs nine Democrats to cross party lines, assuming every Republican lends their support to his border wall demand, in order to overcome a filibuster.
His antics have not spooked Schumer, who last week said that Trump was free to throw a ‘temper tantrum’ and force a shut down if he wants, although he would advise against it.
Many federal agencies will run out of money on Dec. 21 unless Congress and the White House agree on a path forward.