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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE on Tuesday trashed his own White House infrastructure plan released last year, blaming his former top economic adviser Gary CohnGary David CohnPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank 'I alone can fix it,' Trump said, but has he? The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions MORE for drafting a proposal that was "so stupid."  

Trump, meeting with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump faces new hit on deficit MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US 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.

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 House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Deadline approaches for 2020 Dems Dems eye big infrastructure package, with or without Trump 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. 

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.