Top Dems call off sit-down with Trump after 'Chuck and Nancy' tweet

Dec 03, 2017, 00:55
Top Dems call off sit-down with Trump after 'Chuck and Nancy' tweet

He sat between two chairs left empty for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of NY and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democrats who skipped the meeting.

And he continues to bash political opponents like Democratic congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi as tax-hiking pushovers who are unwilling to bolster law enforcement, the military or the nation's borders.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan were seated at opposite ends of the large conference table.

Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said it would be hard for Democrats to blame Republicans for a shutdown if they were the ones who walked away from talks with the president.

President Donald Trump said he's not surprised Democratic leaders did not show up to a planned meeting with him to negotiate a spending package to avert a government shutdown.

Schumer and Pelosi announced earlier Tuesday that they were not attending the meeting after Trump criticized them on Twitter and said he did not "see" the possibility of a bipartisan deal to pass a bill that would prevent a shutdown early in December.

In fact, in 2010, McConnell-then the Senate minority leader-skipped dinner with President Barack Obama in favor of a meal with the conservative Federalist Society.

Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer hope to use the negotiations to help undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children and to provide financing for the Children's Health Insurance Program, whose funding lapsed at the end of September.

He told reporters that he would blame Democrats if the government shut down if they failed to reach an agreement.

Pelosi later responded to Trump's empty-chair bit on Twitter, saying "it showed he was more interested in stunts than in addressing the needs of the American people".

And on Capitol Hill, some progress was made on Tuesday during talks on the Republican tax bill.

But Democrats' support for any modifications to the legislation would be conditioned on legislative protections for immigrants known as "Dreamers"(those who were brought to the U.S. illegally when still children and who have stayed since) while some conservative Republicans have objections.

Republican leaders did not bite on Democrats' efforts to cut Trump out of the negotiations, even though privately, both sides agree that Trump's unpredictability seriously upends negotiations.

"If that happens, I would absolutely blame the Democrats", he said. "Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes".

Two hours later, Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi struck back.

"We have a very serious approach".

The Senate Budget Committee passed Trump's tax reform bill later on Tuesday in a session that had been seen as a formality, but became fraught after Trump's tweets.