The two top Democrats in Congress abruptly canceled a planned White House meeting with Donald Trump on Tuesday in response to the president’s angry tweet expressing pessimism about their willingness to cut a deal that would keep the government running.
Trump threw shade at Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi hours earlier, calling them tax-hikers who are ‘weak’ on crime and favor the ‘unchecked’ admission of illegal immigrants into the United States.
And he wrote that he doesn’t ‘see a deal’ in the making.
Pelosi and Schumer effectively cut the president out of the conversation late on Tuesday morning, saying in a joint statement that ‘[g]iven that the President doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead.’
‘Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we’ve asked Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan to meet this afternoon. We don’t have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement.’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – who has also been on the receiving end of Trump twitter attacks – and House Speaker Paul Ryan hit back with their own statement bashing the ‘new excuses’ not to meet with the administration.
“We have important work to do, and Democratic leaders have continually found new excuses not to meet with the administration to discuss these issues,’ the two leaders said. ‘Democrats are putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics. There is a meeting at the White House this afternoon, and if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will be there.’
The White House told reporters late on Monday that Trump would meet with congressional leadership at 3:00 p.m. The administration wouldn’t immediately say after the Democrats bowed out whether Republicans will still attend.
Trump is also scheduled to speak with the Republican Senate Caucus at lunchtime.
Republicans have unified control of government, but leaders may need to rely on some Democratic votes to get a funding resolution passed.
Some Democrats are demanding a fix to help DREAMers who came to the U.S. illegally as immigrant children. The president rescinded their status but set a six-month deadline that ends in March to find a solution.
‘Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working,’ Trump tweeted. ‘Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!’