Trump’s Catastrophic Meeting with Chuck and Nancy

A full transcript of the acrimonious Oval Office meeting that occurred Tuesday between President Trump, Vice-President Pence, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi is available here. It was an extraordinarily humiliating experience for the president, and the fallout is already being felt on Capitol Hill.

Jerry Moran is a Republican senator from Kansas. He’s obviously not pleased with Trump’s performance. And it’s not just that Trump voluntarily offered to take “the mantle” of responsibility for a government shutdown. He had invited the Democratic leaders to the White House because he needs their help and then he proceeded to spew a fire hydrant level of lies about the border wall and related topics that Schumer and Pelosi shot down with mocking contempt.

On several occasions, Pelosi begged Trump to stop forcing them to contradict him in public in front of the press before the negotiations could even begin, but he insisted on pressing on, only to get owned over and over again.

Schumer laughed at him for attempting to say that he had gotten some kind of mandate out of the midterms: “When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he’s in real trouble.” He pointed out that he had just repeated the same lies about the border wall that had inspired the new “Bottomless Pinocchio” rating from the Washington Post. He caught Trump in a contradiction, saying that our border security was terrible after opening his remarks by touting its effectiveness. He pointed out that Trump hasn’t even spent the money for border security that he received last year. Then he told Trump that he had called for a government shutdown twenty separate times and got Trump to commit the mother of all blunders:

TRUMP: 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.

Meanwhile, Pelosi correctly told the president that he could not even pass his wall spending through the Republican House and refused to back down on that point in the face of repeated assertions to the contrary. She challenged the president to prove her wrong and told him that his wall “is wasteful and doesn’t solve the problem.” When Trump suggested that she was weak and couldn’t negotiate, she used the opportunity to show her strength and solidify her support within her caucus.

PELOSI: Mr. President — Mr. President, please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats, who just won a big victory.

SCHUMER: Elections have consequences, Mr. President.

But probably the most important point Pelosi made was her most succinct statement of the entire meeting, “You will not win.”

Keep in mind that the entire reason that Schumer and Pelosi were invited to this meeting is because Trump needs their help to keep the government open. He cannot rely on only Republican votes in either the House or the Senate. He started out on the right foot by praising bipartisan cooperation on criminal justice reform and the Farm Bill, but then everything quickly fell apart because he decided to repeat lies in front of an audience that was simply not going to countenance his mendacity.

So, not only did Trump ruin any chance he had at getting anywhere in the negotiations, but he also completely lost the battle over who would be blamed if the negotiations broke down. And, in the process, he gave another example to Senate Republicans of why they do not want him in the White House one day longer than is necessary.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.