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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE on Tuesday trashed his own White House infrastructure plan released last year, blaming his former top economic adviser Gary CohnGary David CohnTrump says US will hit China with new round of tariffs next month Gary Cohn bemoans 'dramatic impact' of Trump tariffs Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank MORE for drafting a proposal that was "so stupid."  

Trump, meeting with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump knocks testimony from 'Never Trumpers' at Louisiana rally Jordan calls Pelosi accusing Trump of bribery 'ridiculous' USMCA deal close, but not 'imminent,' Democrats say MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action 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 DeFazioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi accuses Trump of 'bribery' in Ukraine dealings Democratic chairman presses Transportation secretary over transparency in Boeing 737 Max probe Democratic lawmaker asks for probe of reports Chao favored Kentucky officials 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.