Top congressional Democrats stormed out of the White House and chose to whine in front of cameras after a contentious meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Oct. 16, while the others still stayed in the Cabinet Room to work on behalf of the nation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), were invited to a meeting to discuss the situation in Syria. The Trump administration held the meeting after the House had just voted 354-60 to oppose the president’s announced U.S. troop withdrawal.
According to a source cited by The Associated Press, President Trump kicked off the meeting by presenting his letter sent to Turkish President Recep Erdogan following Turkey’s military attack on the United States-allied Syrian Kurds. In the letter, President Trump warned Erdogan not to be “slaughtering” the Kurds.
The meeting quickly turned into a contentious exchange when Pelosi mentioned the House vote, then Schumer reminded the president of the need to keep U.S. troops in Syria to prevent ISIS from resurging, using a quote from former Defense Secretary James Mattis.
President Trump cut Schumer off, saying Mattis was “the world’s most overrated general.”
“You know why? He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month,” the president said.
Pelosi argued that Russia now has a foothold in the Middle East with the U.S. withdrawal, wrote the Associated Press, citing a senior Democratic aide.
“All roads with you lead to Putin,” the House speaker claimed.
President Trump replied, “I hate ISIS more than you do.”
Pelosi continued, “You don’t know that.”
Schumer interrupted, “Is your plan to rely on the Syrians and the Turks?”
The president replied, “Our plan is to keep the American people safe.”
Pelosi argued, “That’s not a plan. That’s a goal.”
The president turned to the speaker and complained about former President Barack Obama’s “red line” over Syria before adding, “In my opinion, you are a third-grade politician.”
Hoyer then interjected, “This is not useful.”
The Democratic leaders abruptly stood and left the meeting. As they left, President Trump shot back, “Goodbye. We’ll see you at the polls.”
From the White House driveway, Pelosi met reporters and said the president was having some kind of “meltdown” inside.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham described President Trump’s conduct as “measured, factual and decisive,” and said Pelosi’s decision to leave “was baffling, but not surprising with NO intention of participating in a meeting on national security.”
“While Democratic leadership chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine, everyone else in the meeting chose to stay in the room and work on behalf of this country,” Grisham said.
.@realDonaldTrump was measured & decisive today. @SpeakerPelosi walking out was baffling but not surprising w NO intention of participating in a mtg on nat’l security. Dem “leadership” chose to storm out & whine to cameras, everyone else stayed to work on behalf of our country.
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) October 16, 2019
After the meeting, President Trump tweeted some photos from the meeting room to mock the Democrats.
One tweet said, “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” with a photo showing Pelosi standing up, pointing her finger at President Trump, suggesting the speaker is the one who had a “meltdown,” rather than the president.
Another tweet wrote, “Do you think they like me?” with picture showing Pelosi and Schumer looking exhausted and glum.
In the third tweet, President Trump mocked, “The Do Nothing Democrats, Pelosi and Schumer stormed out of the Cabinet Room!” with a photo showing three chairs for the Democrats leaving empty.
Pelosi used one of the photos as her own Twitter profile picture, and her deputy chief of staff sent thanks to the president for the new cover photo.
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) October 16, 2019
According to Market Watch, Pelosi after going back at the Capitol told reporters, “Now, we have to pray for his health—because this was a very serious meltdown on the part of the president.”
And that remark spurred another counterattack from President Trump, who tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her “upstairs,” or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!”
Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her “upstairs,” or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019