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

President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE had a “meltdown” and called House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Republican proposes constitutional amendment to prevent Supreme Court expansion Business groups oppose Paycheck Fairness Act, citing concerns it could threaten bonuses and negotiating New US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations 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 SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform Holder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ Capitol Police officer killed in car attack lies in honor in Capitol Rotunda 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.

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“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 HoyerHouse panel approves bill to set up commission on reparations Race debate grips Congress Watchdog: Capitol Police need 'culture change' MORE (D-Md.) also said the attendees "were offended deeply" by Trump’s treatment of Pelosi. 

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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 McCarthyMcCarthy says Gaetz won't be punished unless charges filed Business groups oppose Paycheck Fairness Act, citing concerns it could threaten bonuses and negotiating McCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election MORE (R-Calif) and Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulOvernight Defense: Biden makes his Afghanistan decision Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Biden to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 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.

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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 McConnellMcCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election Democrats roll out legislation to expand Supreme Court Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study 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) MenendezBottom line The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges Democrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices MORE (D-N.J.) and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Senate Republicans voice opposition to Biden on Iran Biden infrastructure proposal prioritizes funds for emerging technologies 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