At a rambling White House news conference, President Trump on Thursday sought to refute House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s description of his demeanor at a meeting on infrastructure that the president walked out of the day before.
“She said I walked into the room right next door yesterday and walked in and started screaming and yelling,” Trump told reporters.
“Just the opposite. Just the opposite. Because I know that they will always say that even if it didn’t happen, because this happened once before, I walked out, I was so calm. You all saw me minutes later, I was at a news conference, I was extremely calm,” he continued. “I was probably even more so in that room. So I walked into the Cabinet room. You had the group, Cryin’ Chuck, Crazy Nancy. I tell you what, I’ve been watching her and I have been watching her for a long period of time. She’s not the same person. She’s lost it.”
Seeking backup from his staff, Trump asked White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for her description of his bearing during the meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Very calm. No temper tantrum,” Conway responded.
“They have it on tape someplace?” Trump asked. “Good.”
After the meeting fell apart Wednesday, Pelosi described Trump as having had a “temper tantrum.” The president, Schumer and Pelosi all said that Trump did all the talking at the meeting, expressing his anger that Democrats were continuing their investigations into the conduct set forth in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
UNITED STATES – JULY 23: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, right, and Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, shakes hands while addressing the media before a meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 23, 2009. Maliki pledged to mend sectarian divisions and fight corruption as he urged the international community to continue providing support to his nation. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence, right, shakes hands with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, following a meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. During their closed-door meeting, Pelosi expressed strong concerns about Trump’s decision to name former Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon to be his chief White House strategist, and asked him to reconsider the appointment. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Pool via Bloomberg
“Mr. President, why would you have to raise your voice? You said to them, when you’re done with your two tracks, come back and we’ll talk about infrastructure,” Conway said.
Earlier Thursday, Pelosi expanded on her account of the White House meeting, essentially questioning the president’s mental state.
“I pray for him. I wish his family or his administration staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi told reporters during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill. “Maybe he wants to take a leave of absence.”
Pelosi suggested Trump abruptly left the meeting because he was “ill prepared” to strike a deal with Democrats on infrastructure.
“He pulled a stunt,” Pelosi said. “He’s a master of distraction.”
Although Thursday’s press event was officially to announce $16 billion in federal financial assistance to American farmers and ranchers hurt by the president’s ongoing trade war with China, Trump began attacking Pelosi when asked by a reporter why his administration didn’t send the USMCA trade deal — sometimes referred to as “new NAFTA” — to Pelosi for ratification in the House. USMCA is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“She’s a mess. Look, let’s face it. She doesn’t understand it and they sort of feel that she’s disintegrating before their eyes. She does not understand it.”
After he repeatedly called Pelosi “crazy Nancy” at the meeting, the president then said he didn’t want to use that nickname because people would say it was “a copy of crazy Bernie,” his chosen moniker for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Trump also went on to reprise a familiar boast about his own intelligence. “I’m an extremely stable genius,” Trump said regarding the consistency of his views on trade.
Pelosi wasted little time in responding to the president.
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