President Donald Trump sparred with House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in an extraordinary Oval Office session before TV cameras.
Schumer and Pelosi visited The White House on Tuesday to negotiate with Trump over border wall funding in the next spending bill. The pair offered Trump approximately 1.3 billion dollars in funding for the wall, while the president demanded 5 billion dollars. The impasse could lead to a partial government shutdown.
Pelosi set the tone for the discussion at the beginning of her statement noting that any shutdown would be known as “The Trump Shutdown,” prompting the president to immediately interrupt her. The two continued to spar over whether Trump had the votes for proposed border wall funding in the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.
“If we thought we would get it passed in the Senate, Nancy, we would do it immediately,” Trump declared, adding, “It doesn’t matter, though, because you can’t get it passed in the Senate because we need ten Democrats’ vote.”
Pelosi then questioned why TV camera’s were present during budget negotiations prompting Trump to declare, “It’s called transparency, Nancy.”
Trump then turned the floor over to Schumer, who also castigated the president for declaring that he would rather shut the government down than accept the Democrats’ proposals. Trump angrily turned to Schumer and said, “you want to know something? Yes, if we don’t get what we want whether its through you, one way or the other, I will shut down the government.”
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” he continued. “People in this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it. The last time, you shut it down. It didn’t work.”
The pair of lawmakers said after the meeting that they had no intention of meeting Trump’s demands and told him they would only offer him the option of passing existing levels of funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Schumer and Pelosi both said Trump would be to blame for any potential government shutdown.
The deadline for spending occurs Dec. 21, with no current breakthroughs on negotiations.