(image taken from cnn.com)
President Trump met with soon to be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday amidst growing concerns of an impending government shutdown. The Democratic leaders in Congress sat in the Oval Office with the President, accompanied by Vice President Pence who stayed silent through much of the back and forth of the debate.
The Republicans lost forty seats to the Democrats in the House last month, leaving next year’s budget in a state of uncertainty. The Republicans are pushing for an increase in the $1.6 billion put forth for border security. The spending on the budget bill does not give enough money for the border wall Trump campaigned heavily on in the 2016 election.
Pelosi was quick to pin the potential government shutdown as a “Trump shutdown”, creating a soundbite that associates the lack of compromise from both sides of the aisle with the President’s stubbornness. Trump retorted Pelosi’s attack by doubling down on his claim that there is no security on the southern border without a wall. Schumer and Pelosi argued that there is no clear evidence to prove such claims.
Both parties saw an escalation in bouts of insults as the meeting went on, with each side using their wins in the midterm elections as evidence that the American people side with them (Democrats gaining control of the House and Republicans retaining control of the Senate). After Trump pointed out that the Republicans won the Senate (the house in Congress they retained control of), Schumer quickly said: “When the President brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he’s in real trouble”.
As the meeting began to conclude, Trump made a statement that could prove to be a critical error by saying that if the government did shut down he would take it as his own. The meeting seemed to make no progress towards a possible deal being made between the parties.