President Trump said he would be “proud” to shut down the government during a tense exchange with Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California in the Oval Office Tuesday morning.
“If we don’t get what we want one way or the other … I will shut down the government. I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” Trump told Schumer as cameras rolled. “I will take the mantle, I will be the one to shut it down."
Vice President Pence sat silently during the back-and-forth, which lasted more than 15 minutes and featured a heated discussion over Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump is demanding $5 billion in funding for the border wall he had contended Mexico would pay for, and is threatening to shut down the government if Democrats don’t agree to his terms. Trump threatened earlier Tuesday morning on Twitter that he would use money from the Pentagon to have the military build the wall, something top Democrats have warned is not within his power.
At one point, Schumer explained to Trump that his arguments about border security — taking credit for securing the border while arguing the country faces a crisis — were at odds. Later, Schumer took a shot at the president for bragging that Republicans gained seats in the Senate during the 2018 election.
“When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he’s in real trouble,” Schumer said.
Trump also fought with Pelosi over the need for votes in the House, which Democrats will take control of in January after having gained 40 seats in the midterm election. At one point, Pelosi shot back when Trump said she’s in a situation where “it’s not easy to talk.”
“Please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting,” Pelosi said.
Following the meeting, the House Minority Leader told a group of colleagues in private that Trump’s insistence on the border wall is “a manhood thing."
“I was trying to be the mom,” she said, according to Politico, but “it goes to show you: You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”
Meanwhile, Schumer took to Twitter, calling the president’s display a “temper tantrum.”
Trump’s tweets following the contentious meeting, meanwhile, focused on congratulating Sen. Mitch McConnell for agreeing to bring the Senate to a vote over criminal justice reform.
Here is the full video of the White House meeting: