President Trump reportedly called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a “third-rate politician” while having a “meltdown” during a meeting with congressional leaders on the situation in Syria, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters after they walked out of the meeting.
The Trump White House had invited leadership and top committee members of both parties and chamber of Congress to discuss Trump’s widely condemned decision to abruptly withdraw U.S. armed forces from northern Syria. Trump’s decision paved the way for Turkey to commence an onslaught against Syrian Kurdish forces that were instrumental in the U.S.-led fight against ISIS.
“What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown, sad to say,” Pelosi told reporters shortly after the meeting.
Pelosi said Trump was “shaken up” by having lost most Republicans in a Wednesday House vote condemning Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure in a 354-60 vote, with 129 Republicans voting in favor of it. Just 60 House Republicans voted against it.
BREAKING: After walking out of a meeting with Trump on Syria, Democrats say the president called Speaker Pelosi a "third-rate politician." Pelosi also said, "What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown."
— 11th Hour (@11thHour) October 16, 2019
Sen. Schumer said that the president turned the meeting into a “diatribe” that “was insulting to the speaker.”
“He was insulting, particularly to the speaker. 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,” Schumer said outside the White House.
“This was not a dialogue. It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts, particularly the fact of how to curtail ISIS, a terrorist organization that aims to hurt the United States,” he said.
“I told the president being from New York as he was [made him] particularly aware of the problems that terrorism that an organization like ISIS can create,” Schumer told reporters outside the White House, while the meeting continued with other lawmakers remaining.
“And the fact that someone no less than General Mattis has said that ISIS has been enhanced, that the danger of ISIS is so much greater, worries all of us,” he said, referring to former defense secretary James Mattis, who resigned over Trump’s earlier call to bug out of Syria.
“I asked the president what his plan was to contain ISIS. He didn’t really have one. He said the Turks and the Syrians will guard the ISIS prisoners,” Schumer continued, saying he then asked if the administration had intelligence that the Turks and Syrians would fulfill that role.
“The secretary of defense was, thank God he was honest, he said we don’t have that evidence,” he continued, referring to Mike Esper.
He noted that the administration appeared to have no plan to contain the prisoners.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also said the Democratic leaders were “deeply offended” by the president’s comments and walked out of the meeting.
The really really really fucked up part is that I’m willing to bet Pelosi, Schumer and Hoyer aren’t even telling us the worst parts for fear of causing a panic. pic.twitter.com/svN4utmSS3
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) October 16, 2019