Pelosi, Trump exchange ‘meltdown’ barbs over meeting on U.S. policy in Syria
Robie de Guzman • October 17, 2019 • 317
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democratic leaders on Wednesday (October 16) cut short a meeting with Republican President Donald Trump after he had a “meltdown” over a House of Representatives vote condemning his Syria withdrawal and showed no signs of having a plan to deal with a crisis there.
Trump called Pelosi a “third-rate politician” and the meeting in the White House deteriorated into a diatribe, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters.
Later, in remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said that Trump actually called her a “third-grade” politician.
“What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown. Sad to say,” Pelosi had said upon leaving.
Trump posted on Twitter on Wednesday night – “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” with a photo of Pelosi standing up and pointing at him during the meeting.
The Democrats exited the meeting complaining that they were expecting to hear Trump provide details on a plan for dealing with an unfolding “crisis” in Syria but instead were subjected to “derogatory” language from him about congressional Democrats and Democratic former President Barack Obama.
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, in a statement, called Pelosi’s decision to walk out “baffling but not surprising.”
She added that after Democratic leaders “chose to storm out,” remaining Republican leaders held a productive meeting.
Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces ahead of a Turkish offensive last week into northern Syria against U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters, removing their protection, has been roundly criticized, even by fellow Republicans. The Americans and the Kurds had fought alongside each other against Islamic State militants, some of whom were captured and jailed under Kurdish control in Syria.
Pelosi said Trump was upset at the start of the closed meeting because so many Republicans joined Democrats to vote for a resolution condemning his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northeastern Syria.
The vote was 354 to 60, with dozens of Trump’s fellow Republicans joining the majority Democrats. The split underscored deep unhappiness in Congress over Trump’s action, which many lawmakers view as abandoning loyal Kurdish fighters.
“I think that vote – the size of the vote, more than 2-1 of the Republicans voted to oppose what the president did – probably got to the president. Because he was shaken up by it,” Pelosi said after emerging from the White House.
“And that’s why we couldn’t continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it.” (Reuters)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday (July 9) ruled that a New York prosecutor can obtain President Donald Trump’s financial records but prevented – at least for now – the Democratic-led House of Representatives from obtaining similar documents.
Both 7-2 rulings were authored by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts. One ruling means that the subpoena issued to Trump’s long-term accounting firm, Mazars LLP, for various financial records to be turned over to a grand jury as part of a criminal investigation can be enforced.
But the court sidestepped a major ruling on whether three House committees could also obtain Trump financial documents under subpoena, in what is a short-term win for Trump. Litigation will now continue in lower courts.
In both rulings, Roberts was joined by the court’s four liberals as well as Trump’s two conservative appointees to the court, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
Unlike other recent presidents, Trump has refused to release his tax returns and other documents that could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.
The content of these records has remained a persistent mystery even as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3. Thursday’s rulings represent another milestone in Trump’s tumultuous presidency. (Reuters)
U.S. President Donald Trump has formally notified Congress that the United States has officially moved to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO), Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said on Tuesday.
“Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic,” tweeted by Menendez, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
“To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic and incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests – it leaves Americans sick and America alone,” he added.
Citing a senior administration official, The Hill reported the same day that the United States had submitted its withdrawal notification to the United Nations secretary-general.
Trump and his administration repeatedly assailed the WHO for months and threatened to cut ties with the organization. Experts and Democrats criticized that the Trump administration was trying to shift blames of its mishandling of COVID-19 response and would be counterproductive to addressing the public health crisis.
Trump said in late May that his country is “terminating” its relationship with the WHO. In a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier that month, Trump threatened to permanently cut off the nation’s funding to the WHO and “reconsider our membership” if the international body does not commit to what he called “substantive improvements within the next 30 days.”
Trump announced in mid-April that his administration would halt U.S. funding to the WHO.
The United States has reported more than 2.96 million COVID-19 cases with over 130,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Both figures are far higher than those in any other country or region. (Reuters)
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a controversial Democratic police reform bill on Thursday (June 25), sending the measure to the Senate despite opposition from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 236-181 roughly along party lines to adopt the legislation, one month to the day after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody sparked weeks of worldwide protests over police brutality, especially against African-Americans.
But the Democratic bill, which mandates concrete changes in law and policy to rein in police misconduct, is unlikely to be passed in its current form in the Republican-led Senate, where Democrats blocked a Republican reform measure on Wednesday. (Reuters)
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