Schumer, Pelosi blast Trump over abruptly canceled meeting

Democratic leaders blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE on Wednesday after he abruptly walked out of a meeting at the White House, saying they were shocked by his demand that they drop investigations into his administration in exchange for putting together a massive infrastructure deal.

“To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop,” Senate Democratic 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 (N.Y.) told reporters at a press conference after Trump ripped ripped Democrats for their "phony" investigations into his administration.

“We came here very seriously,” Schumer said of the meeting, which Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer calls on Trump to testify as part of impeachment inquiry Sunday shows — Spotlight shifts to Sondland ahead of impeachment inquiry testimony Perception won't be reality, once AI can manipulate what we see MORE (D-Calif.) and the chairmen and ranking members of key House and Senate committees also attended.


The meeting was scheduled to discuss ways to pay for a tentative $2 trillion infrastructure deal. Schumer said he came to the meeting with a detailed answer to Trump’s question about where Democrats want to invest, a letter that was delivered to Democratic leaders on Tuesday.

“I was prepared to give him a 35-page plan detailing this in all the areas I mentioned and more that had the broad support of Senate and House Democrats,” Schumer said, citing the need to repair roads and bridges, build rural and inner-city broadband, build a clean energy power grid and introduce more electric vehicles in the nation’s transportation fleet.

Pelosi said Democrats came to the White House on Wednesday “hopeful” and “optimistic” about getting a deal.

“We had hoped that we could give this president an opportunity to have a signature infrastructure initiative to create jobs, to improve the quality of life, to just do so much for our country,” she said.

She cited the major infrastructure accomplishments of past presidents, such as Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, and said Trump didn’t appear ready for a big moment.

“For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part that he really couldn’t match the greatness of the challenge that we have, wasn’t really respectful of the Congress and the White House working together, he just took a pass,” Pelosi said. “It just makes me wonder why he did that.”

“In any event, I pray for the president of the United States and I pray for the United States of America,” she said.

Schumer, later returning to his Capitol office, said that Trump may have wrecked the meeting because he knew he couldn’t get Republicans in Congress to agree to revenue-raising measures to pay for the $2 trillion goal the president and Democrats discussed at a White House meeting earlier this month.

“He’s afraid,” he said. “They can’t come up with some pay-fors, they’re just too tied in a knot. So they came up with a very inelegant way to wriggle out of it.”

Trump cut off the infrastructure talks Wednesday after Pelosi accused him of engaging in a "cover-up." Democratic leaders and the White House have been engaged in numerous oversight battles, with Democrats furious over the administration's near-blanket stonewalling of congressional probes.

The president laced into the Democratic congressional investigations during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, demanding that Democrats "get these phony investigations over with" before talks can resume.