After President Donald Trump halted infrastructure talks with congressional Democrats on Wednesday, asserting he would not return to the table until they dropped their probe in the wake of the Mueller report, Washington and Idaho legislators on both sides of the aisle were at odds over the severity of his action.
Three minutes into the meeting that had been set weeks ago after Trump and Democratic leaders agreed to talk about a possible $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, Trump walked out before shaking anyone’s hand or taking a seat, the Associated Press reported.
Trump walked directly to the Rose Garden and said, “I don’t do cover-ups,” to a group of reporters who had assembled – a response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarks earlier in the day that she believed the president was engaged in a “cover-up” of the Russia probe.
Trump said he told Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, “I want to do infrastructure. … But you know what? We can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over.”
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., expressed concern over the importance of this meeting.
“As a former preschool teacher I know a temper tantrum when I see one, and unfortunately, that’s what we saw at the White House today,” Murray said in a statement. “I hope the President backs down from his blanket refusal to work across the aisle going forward, because workers and families expect us to do our jobs – meaning both legislating and conducting rigorous oversight of the President and his administration – and we certainly aren’t going to stop.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said he was likewise focused on legislating, and the Democrats’ actions were motivated by the 2020 presidential election.
“The continued investigations of the Trump Administration and calls for impeachment of the President are more about the upcoming election than helping the American people,” Newhouse said in a statement. “ … Congressional Democrats must move on from these partisan attacks on President Trump, so we can continue serving Americans.”
Melanie Baucom, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s spokeswoman, said in a statement that legislation continues to move through the Senate, noting the Republican senator had read the entire Mueller report and agrees with U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s conclusions.
Attempts to reach U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Pelosi later called it all “very, very, very strange.” Democrats doubted Trump was ever going to put forward a plan, the AP reported. Schumer said when Trump “was forced to say how he would pay for it, he had to run away.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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