Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' during Syria meeting, top Democrats say

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE had a “meltdown” and called House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLouisiana governor wins re-election Dynamic scoring: Forward-thinking budgeting practices to grow our economy Pelosi: Trump tweets on Yovanovitch show his 'insecurity as an imposter' MORE (D-Calif.) a “third-rate politician” during a meeting Wednesday with congressional leaders on the situation in Syria, Pelosi 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.) told reporters after they left the meeting early.

The White House had invited leadership and top committee members of both parties and chambers of Congress to discuss Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.

That withdrawal paved the way for Turkey to initiate an onslaught against Syrian Kurdish forces that were instrumental in the U.S.-led fight against ISIS, and it has been widely criticized by lawmakers across the political spectrum.

Just before lawmakers left for the meeting, the House passed a resolution in a 354-60 vote that rebuked Trump’s decision to retreat from Syria.

Pelosi attributed Trump’s comments to being “shaken” by the overwhelming nature of the House vote, where 129 Republicans sided with Democrats.

ADVERTISEMENT

“That’s why we couldn’t continue in the meeting because he just wasn’t relating to the reality of it,” Pelosi said. 

“What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown, sad to say,” she added later.

Schumer added that Trump was “insulting” to Pelosi.

“She kept her cool completely, but he called her a third-rate politician. He said that there are communists involved and you guys might like that. I mean, this was not a dialogue. It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe,” Schumer said.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Former Ukraine envoy offers dramatic testimony Hoyer calls GOP efforts to out whistleblower 'despicable' Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing MORE (D-Md.) also said the attendees "were offended deeply" by Trump’s treatment of Pelosi. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Hoyer, Schumer and Pelosi said they left the meeting after Trump’s comments to Pelosi but that other lawmakers in both parties stayed behind to continue asking questions about Syria and Turkey.

“This crisis required a rational, reasonable discussion between those of us who have been elected by the American people to set policy,” Hoyer said. “Unfortunately, the meeting deteriorated.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHarris introduces bill to prevent California wildfires McCarthy says views on impeachment won't change even if Taylor's testimony is confirmed House Republicans call impeachment hearing 'boring,' dismiss Taylor testimony as hearsay MORE (R-Calif) and Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulTexas GOP congressman calls on governor to postpone execution of Rodney Reed House Republicans add Hunter Biden, whistleblower to impeachment hearing witness wish list Trump: Whistleblower 'must come forward' MORE (R-Texas) also spoke to reporters a short time later.

McCarthy called Pelosi's behavior "unbecoming" and criticized her for "storming out."

"The Speaker tries to make everything political," McCarthy said, adding that he gives credit to Democrats who stayed after leadership left and that the meeting seemed "much calmer" and "much more productive" after that.

ADVERTISEMENT

McCarthy and McCaul said they were given assurances that the United States is not withdrawing completely from Syria and would maintain a "residual force." McCaul added that lawmakers still plan to introduce a Turkey sanctions bill Thursday.

Schumer also said he asked Trump what his plan is to contain ISIS going forward and that Trump’s only response was that Turkey and Syria will guard ISIS prisoners.

“I said, is there any intelligence evidence that the Turks and the Syrians will have the same interest that the Kurds or we did in guarding ISIS? And the secretary of Defense was, thank god he was honest. He said, ‘We don’t have that evidence,’” Schumer said.

“This is appalling,” Schumer added. “The president had no plan, no real plan for containing ISIS.” 

Schumer pushed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy On The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Top House Democrats ask for review of DHS appointments MORE (R-Ky.) to put the resolution the House passed Wednesday on the Senate floor. A Senate version of the measure has been introduced by Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGraham blocks resolution recognizing Armenian genocide after Erdoğan meeting Trump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward MORE (D-N.J.) and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungTester: Our forefathers would not have tolerated Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing Overnight Defense: Trump hosts Erdoğan at White House | Says Turkish leader has 'great relationship with the Kurds' | Highlights from first public impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ind.).

“We urge Leader McConnell to not just condemn the president, but put this resolution on the floor,” Schumer said. “The safety of America, the safety of the Kurds are in the hands of one person, President Trump, and the best way to pressure him is a strong, bipartisan resolution.”

Brett Samuels contributed