Trump was scheduled to meet with Democratic leaders at the White House on Wednesday morning to continue their discussion about infrastructure. Just prior to the meeting, Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with her caucus and made this statement to the press about their discussion.
JUST IN: Speaker Pelosi says “we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up” by stonewalling testimony for ongoing congressional investigations. pic.twitter.com/ncU6SegLrP
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 22, 2019
When Democratic leaders arrived at the White House, Trump walked into the room, went on a five-minute rant about ongoing investigations, and then walked out. He proceeded to the Rose Garden where he held a supposedly impromptu press conference, refusing to govern until Democrats stopped their investigations. They claim that it was Pelosi’s remarks about a cover-up that triggered it all.
But take a look at the lectern from which the president made his remarks in the Rose Garden.
— Bodak Red ?????? (@AFarray) May 22, 2019
It was decked out with statements about the amount of time and money spent on the Mueller investigation, only to find “no collusion” and “no obstruction.” There were fact sheets prepared with the same information handed out to reporters. Does that look like an impromptu response to Pelosi’s remarks? Not likely.
So what led Trump to announce that he would refuse to govern until Democrats stopped their investigations? Here is Schumer’s explanation.
Chuck Schumer says President Trump used congressional investigations as a “preplanned excuse” to avoid figuring out an infrastructure plan.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 22, 2019
That fits with my assumption that Democrats entered these discussions about infrastructure knowing that Trump would either back out or fail to rally his own party around the issue. Whenever Trump fails, his response is to lie, deflect, and blame. Because he was failing on infrastructure, he decided to blame the investigations being carried out by Democrats.
But David Frum has another thought about what prompted this particular temper tantrum.
I think that’s President Trump’s way of telling us that his lawyers don’t like his chances on appeal in the accounting records subpoena fight
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 22, 2019
Judge Amit Mehta so thoroughly destroyed the arguments dreamt up by Trump’s lawyers to obstruct these investigations that they are beginning to realize that they are going to lose these cases in court. Trump’s tantrum is his way of threatening them to back off.
It is possible that both Schumer and Frum are right. One explanation doesn’t necessarily preclude the other. But leave it up to Speaker Pelosi to stick the knife in where it really hurts.
Pelosi: “For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part … he took a pass and it just makes me wonder why he did that. In any event I pray for the president of the United States.”
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) May 22, 2019