Trump walks out of shutdown meeting, calling talks 'total waste of time'

President Donald Trump walked out of discussions to end a partial government shutdown, now in its third week...

Posted: Jan 10, 2019 11:29 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2019 11:29 AM

President Donald Trump walked out of discussions to end a partial government shutdown, now in its third week, calling the talks with congressional Democrats "a total waste of time."

"Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!" Trump said.

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Top congressional Democrats blasted Trump after the meeting Wednesday afternoon, accusing him of indifference to struggling federal workers and not trying to negotiate as the government shutdown drags on.

"Unfortunately, the President just got up and walked out," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. "He asked Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, 'Will you agree to my wall?' She said no. And he just got up and said, 'Then we have nothing to discuss,' and he just walked out. Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way, and he just walked out of the meeting."

Meeting sours after candy

Trump was in a chummy mood when he entered the Situation Room, according to a source familiar with how things unfolded. The President passed out candy to attendees -- Butterfinger and Baby Ruth bars as well as M&M's.

Trump told congressional leaders they would find a letter at each of their chairs -- a copy of the budget request the Office of Management and Budget had put together for congressional staff in Sunday's meeting that laid out the administration's shutdown priorities.

Then, with the letters stating their position in front of them, White House officials asked Democrats where their position stood.

Pelosi informed the President she was concerned about ports of entry, something which he agreed with. Trump said there was money allotted in the administration's priority list that beefed up the ports of entry. But Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, also seated at the table, interjected to say that even if the ports of entry eliminated all drug smuggling, smugglers would find another way in, which is why the barrier structure is important, sparking the most heated exchange of the meeting between Pelosi and Trump.

Schumer jumped in to stress the importance of opening up the government and then negotiating on border security funding from there.

He at one point asked Trump, "Why won't you open the government and stop hurting people?"

Trump responded bluntly, "Because then you won't give me what I want."

A White House official disputes that the President replied with those words. The official claims that Trump answered, "I gotta get you to do the right thing."

Trump then asked Democrats whether, if he opened up the parts of the government that are shut down, Pelosi would be willing to build a barrier. She declined.

A source familiar with what happened inside the room said Trump ended the meeting by standing up and announcing "bye-bye" before turning and walking out.

After Trump left the room, Pelosi and Schumer got up to leave. Vice President Mike Pence then asked for a counteroffer from Democrats -- asking what they are willing to work on, so the White House would have a better idea to move forward. They didn't offer one, something that has frustrated White House officials since they first privately offered less than $5.6 billion the day after the government shut down.

Immigration proposal considered

Staring at a prolonged shutdown, Republican senators are privately planning to court Democratic senators on an immigration deal that would give Trump money for his border wall and include several measures long-sought by Democrats, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Following Trump's meeting, GOP senators privately gathered in Sen. Lindsey Graham's office Wednesday to discuss a way out of the logjam. The long-shot idea: propose an immigration deal that would include money for the wall along with several provisions that could entice Democrats. Those items include changes to help those who are a part of the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival program as well as immigrants from El Salvador and other countries impacted by the Temporary Protected Status program -- as well as modifications to H2B visas.

GOP senators pitched the idea to senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who said if they came up with a proposal that got Trump his border wall money and could pass the Senate, the White House would be open to more discussions on the matter, the source said. He did not say Trump would endorse such a plan.

The GOP senators -- who include Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Rob Portman of Ohio and Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska -- discussed the plan in a hastily arranged meeting Wednesday, with several of them now planning to propose the idea to Democrats to see if there's a enough support to break the logjam.

Breakdown in talks leads to fiery rhetoric

A White House official says no other meeting with Pelosi has been scheduled at this time, and a national emergency declaration is still on the table.

The meeting at the White House came just hours before the House of Representatives was expected to vote on individual bills to help reopen the government. The bills aren't expected to go anywhere in the GOP-controlled Senate at this time but the maneuver is aimed at putting pressure on Republicans. Trump promised earlier Wednesday to veto that legislation if it reached his desk.

Pelosi, speaking alongside Schumer outside the White House, said Trump was "insensitive" to federal workers missing pay during the shutdown and alluded to Trump's own privileged upbringing.

"He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for money, but they can't," the California Democrat said.

She added, "If you don't understand financial insecurity then you would have a policy that takes pride in saying, 'I'm going to keep government shut down for months or years unless you totally agree to my position.' "

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's number two Democrat, said after the meeting that "it was pretty clear" Trump's heart was not in it.

"He said today, in the middle of this meeting, 'I don't know why I'm doing this. I didn't want to do this meeting. They told me I had to do this meeting,' " Durbin said.

Top Republicans spoke to the media after the Democratic statements and took issue with their characterization of the meeting, though they did not dispute that Trump left the meeting. Among them were Pence, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.

Notably, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, did not appear alongside them.

Pence said Trump told the Democrats "goodbye" after Pelosi denied his request for a wall, and the vice president contended the move made clear that Trump would not end the shutdown without his border measures.

"What the President made clear today is he is going to stand firm to achieve his priorities to build a wall, a steel barrier on the southern border, add additional personnel, additional resources, additional reforms to stem the crisis that we face on our southern border," Pence said.

McCarthy said Trump had gone back and forth with Pelosi and Schumer, and then eventually asked Pelosi, " 'OK, Nancy, if we open the government up in 30 days, could we have border security?' "

"She raised her hand and said, 'No, not at all,' " McCarthy recalled. "The President calmly said, 'I guess you're still not wanting to deal with the problem.' "

Wednesday's meeting came a day after Trump delivered an Oval Office address standing by his demand for Congress to fund his border wall with Mexico and Democrats continued to refuse the request. With no apparent end in sight to the disagreement, the shutdown was due to enter its 20th day.

This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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