Trump trashes his own administration's infrastructure plan as 'stupid'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE on Tuesday trashed his own White House infrastructure plan released last year, blaming his former top economic adviser Gary CohnGary David CohnFormer national economic council director: I agree with 50 percent of House Democrats' HEROES Act Sunday shows preview: Congress spars over next round of coronavirus relief; GOP seeks offensive after news of Flynn 'unmasking' The Memo: Speculation grows about Fauci's future MORE for drafting a proposal that was "so stupid."  

Trump, meeting with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP lawmaker: Democratic Party 'used to be more moderate' White House not optimistic on near-term stimulus deal Sunday shows - Stimulus debate dominates MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMeadows: 'I'm not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term' on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (D-N.Y.), made clear that he was never supportive of the proposal calling for public-private partnerships because "you get sued," according to a senior Democratic source who attended the private meeting in the White House’s Cabinet Room. 

"That was a Gary [Cohn] bill. That bill was so stupid," Trump told the Democratic leaders, according to the source.

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A second person present at Tuesday’s White House meeting confirmed Trump’s remarks criticizing his administration's plan. Unveiled in February 2018, the proposal calls for $200 billion in federal spending that would be used to leverage at least an additional $800 billion in private investment over the next decade.

Cohn, Trump's first director of the National Economic Council, resigned from his White House post in April 2018, two months after rolling out the White House infrastructure plan.

"[Trump] said definitively he doesn't like private-public partnerships, and he did not at all support the plan that was put forward last year," recalled House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioHouse Dems introduce bill to require masks on planes and in airports Should the United States withdraw from the WTO? OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated MORE (D-Ore.), who was among the group of Hill Democrats who met with Trump. 

"He said he never supported it," DeFazio added. "It was a product of a think tank guy, DJ Gribbin, and he said, 'That was Gary's thing. I never supported that.'"

Gribbin, an infrastructure policy adviser, also left the White House last year. 

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Tuesday's meeting marked a rare bipartisan breakthrough for Trump and Democratic leaders, who agreed to come up with a $2 trillion infrastructure package. But the two sides did not reach a deal on how to pay for the package and will meet again in three weeks to talk details, Pelosi and Schumer announced. Democrats want to raise taxes to generate revenue for roads, bridges, waterways and broadband projects. 

Democrats now hope that Trump’s rejection of public-private partnerships means he’ll move a step closer to their position. 

"I would like to do something. It may not be typically Republican," Trump told the Democrats, according to the senior Democratic source.

Naomi Jagoda contributed.