President Donald Trump took his deepening rage with Democrats to the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, orchestrating a public display of fury at persistent oversight requests he says have forestalled any bipartisan cooperation.
The episode, meant to shame his political rivals, also placed into clear relief how Democrats’ recent subpoenas and information requests have rattled the President. And it raised the stakes on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is facing calls from members of her party to begin impeachment proceedings.
Speaking minutes after abruptly cutting short a meeting at the White House with Pelosi and her Senate counterpart Sen. Chuck Schumer, Trump announced he wouldn’t attempt any further efforts at bipartisanship until the congressional investigations conclude.
“I’ve said from the beginning — right from the beginning — you probably can’t go down two tracks. You can go down the investigation track or you can go down the investment track,” Trump said.
The abbreviated meeting with Pelosi and Schumer was intended to discuss a bipartisan infrastructure spending package. But Trump said during the meeting he couldn’t work with them until their investigations are over. He was particularly irked at a comment Pelosi made earlier in the day suggesting Trump was engaged in a “cover-up.”
“Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk into, look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up,” Trump said. “I don’t do cover-ups.”
In the minutes-long meeting in the Cabinet Room, Trump didn’t shake any of the lawmakers’ hands or sit in his seat, a person familiar with the session said. He left the room before anyone else could speak.
Speaking on Capitol Hill later, Pelosi said she and other Democrats went into the meeting with a “spirit of bipartisanship” but that the President “just took a pass” on continuing their discussions on infrastructure.
“In any event, I pray for the President of the United States,” she said.