- While he talked to the press about the federal budget on Tuesday, President Donald Trump sat in between two empty chairs with name cards indicating they were meant to be filled by Democratic leadership.
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pulled out of the meeting after Trump attacked them on Twitter.
President Donald Trump sat in between two empty chairs with name cards indicating they were meant to be filled by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi during a meeting about the federal budget at the White House on Tuesday.
The top Democratic leaders pulled out of the Tuesday meeting with Trump after the president attacked them on Twitter, arguing that a “deal” with the Democrats is unlikely because they “want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes.”
The Democrats said they asked Republican leadership to meet with them separately on Tuesday.
Trump told reporters after the meeting that Pelosi and Schumer are “all talk” and “no action,” adding that he’s “not really that surprised” they declined the meeting.
“We have a lot of differences,” Trump said, then accusing the Democrats of being “weak on crime,” encouraging illegal immigration, deprioritizing the military, and supporting tax increases.
“Nothing to them is important except for raising taxes,” Trump concluded.
Republican leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Paul Ryan sat on the other side of the empty chairs and expressed their dismay that their Democratic counterparts had skipped the meeting.
McConnell said he “can’t recall ever turning down an opportunity to ever come down to the White House,” despite reports that he declined dinner at the White House with former President Barack Obama in 2010, among other White House engagements.
Pelosi responded to what she called the “empty chair photo opp” with a strongly-worded tweet later on Tuesday.
“[email protected] now knows that his verbal abuse will no longer be tolerated. His empty chair photo opp showed he’s more interested in stunts than in addressing the needs of the American people,” she wrote. “Poor Ryan and McConnell relegated to props. Sad!”
If Trump does not sign a funding bill by December 8, the federal government will enter into a partial shutdown.
Watch a clip below:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 28, 2017
Bob Bryan contributed to this report.
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