Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that President Donald Trump berated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a meeting on the president’s handling of the Turkey crisis.
Schumer told reporters that Trump “was insulting to the speaker” at the meeting and that he called Pelosi a “third-rate politician.” The senator also said the meeting was more of a “diatribe” than a “dialogue.”
At the same press conference outside the White House, Pelosi said Trump had a “meltdown” during their meeting. In response to being called a third-rate politician, Pelosi said she told Trump: “I wish you were a politician, Mr. President, so then you’d know the art of the possible.”
“I asked the president what his plan was to contain ISIS,” Schumer said, referencing the hundreds of ISIS supporters that escaped detention in northern Syria. “He didn’t really have one.”
The meeting came after what Pelosi said was “a very difficult time for” Trump, referencing the House’s nonbinding resolution that opposes the president’s withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria.
Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly condemned Trump’s decision to effectively greenlight Turkey’s invasion of the region, a move that put America’s Kurdish allies in danger and would likely lead to a resurgence of ISIS.
“That vote … probably got to the president, because he was shaken up by it. And that’s why we couldn’t continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it,” Pelosi said. “Again, we are proud of our men and women in uniform. Those who have been in Syria have conducted themselves in a way that makes us all very proud, and I conveyed that to the chairmen of the joint chiefs.”
Trump signed an executive order on Monday to impose sanctions and visa bans on top Turkish government leaders as a way to punish them for the country’s forces invading Syria, and said that a small number of US troops would remain in Syria.
The president’s foreign policy moves have brought bipartisan backlash from lawmakers, world leaders and human rights groups. The Senate is introducing its own sanctions bill against Turkey, saying that Trump’s orders aren’t enough.
“I told the president that being from New York, as he was, we’re particularly aware of the problems that terrorism that an organisation like ISIS can create,” Schumer said. “And the fact that someone no less than General [Jim] Mattis has said that ISIS has been enhanced, that the danger of ISIS is so much greater, worries all of us.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.