Following remarks by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accusing him of a “cover-up”, President Trump cut off a meeting with top Democrats on infrastructure. Instead of discussing infrastructure with his opponents and making an attempt at bipartisanship, he held a hasty, twelve minute press conference in the White House Rose Garden.
The president lambasted Democratic leaders, stating that any talks around infrastructure would not take place until Democrats dropped their “phony investigations.”
The president's comments come following Pelosi's address to fellow Democrats. While Pelosi initially resisted the demands of colleagues such as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters to open an impeachment inquiry into the Trump presidency, she commented to reporters immediately following a Democratic caucus meeting that she and other Democrats believe the president is engaged in a cover-up.
“We do believe that it's important to follow the facts,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters. “We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”
While it is clear that Pelosi believes the president is hiding something, and is certainly guilty of impeachable offenses, her approach to the president seems to be more subtle than Ocasio-Cortez's and Waters's. In Wednesday's Democratic caucus meeting, she urged her colleagues to fight the Trump administration through the courts and legal action, rather than advocating for an impeachment inquiry.
Yet to Trump, any opposition and questioning of him and his authority is tantamount to an impeachment inquiry. The enraged president's meeting with Pelosi and Senator Schumer lasted mere minutes. According to a source present, Trump walked in and refused to shake anyone's hand. He stated that, while he had intended to work on infrastructure, a trade agreement, and a farm bill, Pelosi's terrible accusations impeded the work that could be done and that until investigations are over, he is unwilling to work with Democrats. The source claims left before anyone else could get a word in.
Trump largely echoed the sentiments the source reported in his impromptu press conference. “I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure … you can't do it under these circumstances,” he said. He repeated his no collusion, no obstruction claim, insisting to reporters that he is “the most transparent president probably in the history of this country”. He referred to Mueller's investigations as a “total horrible thing that happened to our country”, and claimed the fault of this horrid incident fell at the feet of the Democrats.
“The crime was committed on the other side,” Mr. Trump insisted, later stating: “Instead of walking in happily to a meeting, I walk in to look at people who just said I did cover-ups, I don't do cover-ups.”
Trump's foot dragging leaves the issue of infrastructure, along with other legislation, hanging in the balance. The president has, once again, effectively squashed hopes of bipartisan, adult discussions between himself and Democratic leaders.