Donald Trump has lashed out at Democratic leadership after refusing to sit for a bipartisan meeting at the White House, claiming he will no longer work with the party until all investigations against him have been closed.
The president declined to shake anyone’s hand or even sit for the meeting Democrats scheduled at the White House on Wednesday to discuss a bipartisan solution to the nation’s failing infrastructure.
He then cut the meeting short and staged a seemingly last-minute appearance at the White House Rode Garden, where he tore into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of engaging “in a cover up” over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mr Trump reportedly told Democrats in the five-minute meeting that he would like to work on infrastructure but would not negotiate with them until the probes had reached their conclusions — before walking out of the room.
“So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country,” the president posted in a series of tweets following his appearance in the Rose Garden. “They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40m and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work.”
The president went on to claim Democrats “really want a do-over” on the special counsel’s investigation, adding, “you can’t investigate and legislate simultaneously — it just doesn’t work that way.”
“You can’t go down two tracks at the same time,” Mr Trump wrote.
The president appeared particularly infuriated by Ms Pelosi’s comments from earlier in the day, in which the California Democrat said, “We do believe that it is important to follow the facts, we believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States, and we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up, in a cover up."
So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country. They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40M and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)May 22, 2019
Mr Trump responded by lambasting the House speaker over talk of possible impeachment proceedings, saying at his press appearance, “All of a sudden I hear last night they're going to have a meeting right before this meeting to talk about the I word. The I word. Can you imagine?"
“I don’t do cover ups,” he continued.
New York Democrat Chuck Schumer and Ms Pelosi held a competing press conference of their own on Wednesday after the meeting, with the Senate minority leader telling reporters, “What happened in the White House would make your jaw drop.”
The bizarre day arrived amid a slate of new subpoenas being issued by committees probing the president’s possible obstruction of justice outlined in the special counsel’s report. Hope Hicks, who served as Mr Trump’s former White House communications director, was issued a subpoena earlier this week, along with the former chief of staff to Donald McGahn, who served as the ex-White House counsel under Mr Trump.
Mr McGahn defied a subpoena this week and failed to show up for a Congressional hearing after being ordered by Mr Trump not to comply with requests from the Democrats.
At least 25 Democrats reportedly support impeachment proceedings against the president, including several committee chairs and members of Ms Pelosi’s leadership team, The Hill reported.