Washington (AFP) - An angry President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that he was not in a "rage" when he abruptly canceled a meeting with top Democrats at the White House.
Despite 24 hours of furious tweets and a hastily arranged press event at which he expressed bitterness at Democrats, Trump explained he'd been unflappable Wednesday while blowing up the meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer.
"I was extremely calm yesterday with my meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, knowing that they would say I was raging, which they always do, along with their partner, the Fake News Media," Trump said in a tweet.
"Well, so many stories about the meeting use the Rage narrative anyway - Fake & Corrupt Press!"
The meeting had been billed as a rare bipartisan session on funding national infrastructure projects. But within minutes of Pelosi and Schumer arriving, Trump showed them the door.
Pelosi said afterwards that he'd had a "temper tantrum."
Trump says he pulled the plug on the meeting because Pelosi had earlier accused him of attempting to cover up alleged crimes related to a recently finished probe into his campaign's Russia links. The accusation came as some in the Democratic Party are pushing hard for impeachment proceedings.
Trump says he cannot deal with Democrats as long as the "phony investigations" continue.
Top advisor Kellyanne Conway went on Trump-friendly television network Fox News to defend her boss Thursday, saying that "he never actually raised his voice."
The Democrats "ruined it about an hour before," Conway told Fox, "saying he's engaged in a cover-up and then coming over here and pretending everything's great and we're going to discuss infrastructure."
Whether Trump yelled or not does little to change the fact that relations between the White House and the opposition party appear to be at a nadir.
Expressing her own dislike for Pelosi, Conway complained that the veteran legislator "treats me like I'm either her maid or her driver or her make-up artist."