Image credit: public domain image of French nuclear test at Fangataufa atoll in French Polynesia
Democrat Congressional leadership arrived at the White House today to discuss infrastructure spending, but that isn’t what they got. Instead, President Trump told them he wasn’t interested in working with them on anything so long as he was being investigated by the House.
Per person familiar with what happened in the room before this Rose Garden presser: POTUS did not sit down or shake anyone's hand. He told Dems that "once your investigation is done – we can talk about these things." And then he left the room before anyone else could speak.
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) May 22, 2019
Trump walked into the room with Democrats, said "once your investigation is done, we can talk about these things." and walked out before anyone else could speak.
Raise your hand if you like angry Trump. 🙋♂️
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) May 22, 2019
Then he held an impromptu press conference and unloaded:
President Donald Trump fired back on Wednesday at U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accusation that he is engaged in a cover-up over the Mueller Russia investigation, saying at a hastily arranged White House appearance, “I don’t do cover-ups.”
Visibly angered by Pelosi’s remarks, Trump also said he would not work with Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, on a major infrastructure proposal because of “phony” investigations they are pursuing in Congress.
The Republican president added that he was upset that Democratic lawmakers discussed the possibility of impeaching him before a White House meeting on infrastructure.
Trump repeated his previous rhetoric about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russia’s interference in Trump’s favor in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether Trump impeded Mueller’s inquiry. “No collusion, no obstruction, no nothing,” Trump said. “This whole thing was a take-down attempt at the president of the United States.”
Regarding the infrastructure meeting, Trump said, “I walked into the room and I told Senator (Chuck) Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I’d be really good at that – that’s what I do. But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.”
Pelosi and Schumer and, inevitably, the Vichy Republicans at The Bulwark will frame this a fearfulness or petulance. I don’t think so, anymore than I think/thought Trump’s hostility towards Comey’s actions and the Russia hoax were obstructive. For all his bluster and guile, I think Trump is a man who has a powerful range of emotions and wears those on his sleeve a lot. One of the things that always used to make me gag about George Bush, and his father, was their insistence upon referring to Democrats who were accusing them of all manner of disreputable behavior as “my good friend.” The whole glad-hand-slap-the-back routine while in close proximity and the attacks in the media always caused me to have serious doubts about the degree to which that the Bush’s even cared about their own reputations or the causes they espoused. I find Trump telling the Democrats that they can’t hope to cut deals while they are actively trying to destroy him not only refreshing in its directness–and manliness–but, just perhaps, a first step in getting some degree of civility back into our political discourse.