The topic of border wall funding led to an explosive confrontation between President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The trio met at the White House for the first time since the midterm elections when Democrats took over the House of Representatives, and the sparks flew as Trump demanded the leaders step up and agree to fund $5 billion for the border wall.
“We have the easy one, the wall,” Trump said during the televised meeting on Tuesday. “That will be the one that will be the easiest of all. What do you think, Chuck?
“It’s called funding the government, Mr. President,” Schumer replied.
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The conversation, which focused on the border wall itself for a time before Trump weighed in on the Central American migrant caravan, devolved into a clash of wills and voices as it escalated.
The president threw a match to the gasoline when he declared he would take responsibility for a government shutdown should the funding hit gridlock in Congress.
“We want to come to an agreement. If we can’t come to an agreement, we have solutions that will pass the House and Senate right now and will not shut down the government. That’s what we are urging you to do. Not threaten to shut down the government,” Schumer argued.
“If there’s not border security, I won’t take it!” Trump emphatically replied. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”
“I will take the mantle,” he added. “I will be the one to shut it down. And I’m gonna shut it down for border security.”
As the debate spiraled, with the Democrats continuing to press the president on the need for a wall, Pelosi claimed they “came in here in good faith” agreeing to have “this kind of a discussion in the public view.”
“But it’s not bad, Nancy. It’s called transparency,” Trump quipped before attempting to smooth Pelosi’s feathers as part of his negotiation.
“I don’t think we really disagree so much. I also know that Nancy is in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now, and I understand that. I fully understand that,” he said.
But Pelosi was not appreciative.
“Mr. President — please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as a leader of the House Democrats who just won a big victory,” the California Democrat said smugly.
“Elections have consequences, Mr. President,” Schumer snidely chimed in.
The debate fueled plenty of comments on Twitter:
Breaking #FoxNews Alert : Trump threatens government shutdown if Dems don’t OK border wall funding, in explosive meeting with Pelosi, Schumer
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) December 11, 2018
Schumer and Pelosi are not used to having someone fight back right to their face! DC is used to backroom dealings.
Trump has no fear. He calls it like he sees it. Like a BOSS.
— Kambree Kawahine Koa (@KamVTV) December 11, 2018
A skirmish with Trump helps Pelosi flex her muscles and bona fides to liberals who are skeptical of her..and moderate Democrats who think it’s time for her to go. Tangling with the President is good politics for Pelosi..as she still lacks the votes to become Speaker.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 11, 2018
Here’s the whole session: