Pelosi said Trump had a 'meltdown' after the House overwhelmingly voted to condemn his Syria retreat

John Haltiwanger

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

  • President Donald Trump had a "meltdown" during a meeting with Democratic leaders on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters.

  • Trump was particularly upset by growing bipartisan opposition to his Syria retreat.

  • The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution condemning Trump's recent decision to withdraw US forces from northeastern Syria and abandon the Kurds.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said President Donald Trump had a "meltdown" in a meeting with Democratic leaders on his strategy to contain ISIS.

Trump was apparently particularly triggered by the House overwhelmingly voting in favor of a resolution condemning his Syria retreat.

The House approved the measure in a 354-60 vote, with 129 Republicans voting in favor of it. Just 60 House Republicans voted against it.

"He was shaken up by it," Pelosi said in reference to the vote. She added: "And that's why we couldn't continue in the meeting, because he was just not relating to the reality of it."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump was "insulting" during the meeting, particularly toward Pelosi.

"She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third-rate politician," Schumer said. "It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts."

Pelosi later said Trump actually referred to her as a "third-grade politician."

Read more: A top senator says Trump's Syria retreat and the Ukraine scandal may have damaged America's credibility forever

The White House disputes Pelosi's account of the meeting.

"The President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi's decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Insider via email.

"She had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues," Grisham added. "While democratic leadership chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine, everyone else in the meeting chose to stay in the room and work on behalf of this country."

Nancy Pelosi

The meeting was the first between the president and Democratic leaders since the House launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump in relation to the Ukraine scandal.

The Trump administration announced the withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria on October 6.

The move effectively abandoned Kurdish forces to a Turkish military assault. The Kurds bore the brunt of the US-led campaign against ISIS, losing about 11,000 fighters in the process, and Trump has been widely accused of betraying a loyal ally.

Read more: Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII

Trump's Syria retreat has also raised concerns about the resurgence of ISIS in the region, particularly given that the Kurds had been guarding 11,000 ISIS militants before the Turkish invasion. The US and the Kurds have suspended operations to counter ISIS amid the Turkish operation.

Hundreds of ISIS-related detainees escaped from a camp in northern Syria over the weekend, and ISIS has claimed responsibility for at least two attacks in Syria since the Turkish assault began.

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