Pelosi: Trump relegated Ryan and McConnell to props in empty-chair stunt

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge Pence pleaded with military officials to 'clear the Capitol' on Jan. 6: AP Democrats see political winner in tax fight MORE (D-Calif.) blasted President Trump on Tuesday for leaving two chairs empty for herself and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a legislative strategy session at the White House, accusing him of making GOP leaders into political props.

In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, the California Democrat said the president was "more interested in stunts than in addressing the needs of the American people."

".@realDonaldTrump now knows that his verbal abuse will no longer be tolerated," tweeted Pelosi. "His empty chair photo opp showed he’s more interested in stunts than in addressing the needs of the American people. Poor Ryan and McConnell relegated to props. Sad!"

Pelosi and Schumer backed out of the meeting Tuesday after Trump tweeted earlier in the day that he didn't think it was likely a deal could be reached with Democrats.

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world Boehner throws support behind Republican who backed Trump impeachment MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Democrats see opportunity in GOP feud with business Biden resists calls to give hard-hit states more vaccines than others MORE (R-Ky.) attended the meeting, separated from the president by one empty chair each to indicate the Democrats' absence.

"Meeting with 'Chuck and Nancy' today about keeping government open and working," Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday. "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!"


Instead, the two leaders released a joint statement indicating they would negotiate with Republicans in Congress rather than meet with Trump.

"Given 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," they said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Pelosi and Schumer in a statement, accusing them of "pettiness" and "political grandstanding."

“The president’s invitation to the Democrat leaders still stands and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work,” Sanders said in a statement. “These issues are too important.”