It looked like a family gathering for a holiday meal. What ostensibly began as a peaceful meeting for a friendly conversation quickly devolved into a classic, round-the-table political fight about the wall and who would pay for it. In the end, everyone left angry, but no one got to eat any of the food.
It was a classic Donald Trump move and one that continues to serve him well. Find the issues his base wants to see solved and take the fight directly to the people. Yesterday was no exception when Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer appeared for a meeting before the press at the White House.
As things usually go in the finely choreographed world of Washington politics, Schumer and Pelosi sat around a table with Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump for what normally would have been a time for photographs and softball questions from the press.
Instead, the President delivered a full-fledged argument on border security and wall funding. Trump, once again demanded that the wall be funded to the tune of $5 billion while Schumer and Pelosi insisted that no more than $1.7 billion should be allocated to the project by way of a continuing resolution.
The conversation devolved when President Trump observed the difficult position in which Pelosi found herself as she tried to secure the votes necessary to get her elected Speaker of the House. This prompted Pelosi to chastise the President for suggesting that she did not have the overwhelming support of House Democrats. In the meantime Schumer kept accusing the President of wanting to shut down the government. The President finally concluded the meeting by resoundingly accepting the responsibility of shutting down the government if his demands for wall funding were not met.
In the end, it was the most fascinating political exchange ever with drama rivaling those seen in the best reality shows and replete with an ending reminiscent of a “You’re Fired” episode. It was so entertaining, in fact, that it has earned a “Feature Video” status in our Library page.
To be sure, the exchange was the first of many heated confrontations to surely take place over the next two years. But there are other insights to be gained from this meeting.
First, you can rest assured that President Trump will shut down the government when Schumer and Pelosi fail to bring him the necessary votes to fund the wall in an amount he believes is necessary. Second, for all those Democrats who thought they would be seeing a more subdued Donald J. Trump as a result of the gains they made in the House of Representatives, they should reconsider that impression.
And finally, like Pelosi and Schumer did Tuesday, the Democrats are going to appear paltry and petty when they continue to resist the President over an extra $3.3 billion for a wall in a budget numbering in the trillions of dollars. As a matter of fact, Pelosi and Schumer may have just handed President Trump his own “Reagan-youth-and-inexperience” moment.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist Pages.