Administration

Trump trashes his own administration’s infrastructure plan as ‘stupid’

President Trump on Tuesday trashed his own White House infrastructure plan released last year, blaming his former top economic adviser Gary Cohn for drafting a proposal that was “so stupid.”  

Trump, meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (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 DeFazio (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.

Tags Charles Schumer Donald Trump Gary Cohn Nancy Pelosi Peter DeFazio

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video