It was supposed to be a closed-door Oval Office meeting. Then, at the last minute, it was changed to an open-press event. Cameras were allowed in, things got testy, and then (and I don’t think this is an exaggeration) all hell broke loose. It’s extremely rare that we see leadership in a meeting this combative, this angry, and this blunt.
The big takeaway is that, if Democrats thought their winning the House would bring the president to heel, they’d better think again. If anything, it looks like it’s brought back the kind of unfiltered fight they faced in the last election.
Exhibit A is Trump’s response when Schumer referred to a potential federal shutdown over the border wall as “The Trump shutdown.” We’ve seen this tactic before when they used the phrase “The Republican shutdown” to describe a shutdown initiated by the Obama White House. It worked that time, and a wishy-washy GOP caught the heat. A few years later, Chuck Schumer tried the same play again, only to see it blow up in his face.
So, how is Trump going to handle talk of the “Trump shutdown?” He’s going to lean into it – hard.
The president got right up in Schumer’s grill and said: “If we don’t get what we want, one way or another, whether it’s through you, through the military, through anything you want to call – I will shut down the government.”
“We disagree,” Schumer replied.
“And I’ll tell you what,” Trump continued. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. Because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country.”
TRUMP to SCHUMER: "I am proud to shut down the government for border security, chuck. People in this country don't want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country" pic.twitter.com/E8CRW9k7pe
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) December 11, 2018
Other highlights included Trump calling out Nancy’s precarious position in terms of regaining her position as Speaker of the House:
Trump: “Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy to talk right now”
Pelosi: “Please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting”
And Schumer scolding President Trump about the consequences of elections:
Chuck: Elections have consequences, Mr. President.
Trump: That’s right, and that’s why the country is doing so well.
You can watch the entire meeting below. We think you’ll agree. It’s well worth your time.
Buckle up, folks. The next two years are going to be wild.
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Author: Robert Laurie