Democratic House leadership emerged from a meeting with the White House yesterday and gave the press scathing details of the event. The interaction was described as an insulting and “nasty diatribe” by Trump in which he called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “third-rate politician.” According to reports from The Washington Post, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) left the meeting with Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) followed shortly afterward.
According to Schumer and two other officials who were in the room, Trump continued to down-play the threat from the released Islamic State fighters and said he wasn’t concerned about “terrorists 7,000 miles away.” Liz Cheney (R-WY), the House Republican Conference chair, had to remind Trump that the terrorists who killed more than 3,000 Americans in the 9/11 terrorist attacks “came from 7,000 miles away” themselves.
Schumer then began reading comments to Trump from former defense secretary Jim Mattis on NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this week that discussed the threat of ISIS making a resurgence through this strategy, in an attempt to make his case against Trump’s decision. According to reports, Trump responded by tearing Mattis down further saying, “[Mattis was] the world’s most overrated general. You know why? He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month.”
Former Secretary of Defense Mattis previously resigned from Trump’s administration when he was unable to convince Trump that leaving Syria was a terrible idea nearly a year ago. At the time, Mattis warned the entire administration that removing troops from Syria would create a geo-strategic crisis, with both short and long term implications.
When Schumer and Pelosi tried to focus on Trump’s strategy for the region and get answers on his plans, he told them his “plan is to keep the American people safe.” Pelosi then responded with, “That’s not a plan. That’s a goal.” As Democratic leaders walked out, Trump continued to shout at them, “See you at the polls…”
Upon exiting the White House, Schumer told the press, “It was a meeting on one of the most serious crises affecting America in a while, and instead of having a serious discussion, the president just threw out insults.”
Trump’s recent behavior in this meeting with leadership shows that he has no real plan to combat the fallout from his decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria. The image he sent out later in the day, attempting to discredit Pelosi during the meeting, proves he doesn’t know what he’s doing in any respect. The image below has now gone viral and is being seen as the most impressive move by a leader thus far in standing up to Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi also seems to be quite proud of the moment — she made the image her banner on her official Twitter profile.
Lawrence O’Donnell seemed to sum it up quite well as he opened his program last night by reminding us that the world would have never seen this image of empowerment had Trump himself not provided us with it.
As the military mistakes continue, they seem to be matched by Trump’s own public relations errors. In another terrible mis-step by the Trump administration, a letter from Trump to Erdogan on Oct. 9 was released to a Fox correspondent, presumably by the White House. The letter was initially thought to have been a fake due to the remedial language and almost comic intention. In the letter, Trump tells Erdogan, "Let's work out a good deal!" Trump also says to him, "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool! I will call you later."
It is clear that the pressures of impeachment are getting to Donald Trump. He continues to make huge judgments in error that are now alienating him from his own base. Republicans in the Senate, including Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell have expressed their displeasure at his recent decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria and give Turkey and Russia more power in the region. The House voted yesterday to censure Trump for his decision to withdraw American forces at Syria’s border by a vote of 354 to 60, which shows there is now growing bipartisan support in condemning Trump’s actions and attempting to reign him in. The social media blunders of yesterday by Trump’s own doing, show that he is operating now as his own worst enemy just as an impeachment vote looms before the holidays.
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Amee Vanderpool writes the “Shero” Newsletter and is an attorney, contributor to Playboy Magazine, analyst for BBC radio and Director of The Inanna Project. She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.