Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she was excusing herself from the room in the photo of her standing up to Donald Trump that the president tweeted in the wake of their fiery White House show-down over Syria.
‘I think I was excusing myself from the room,’ the speaker told reporters in the Capitol when asked about the image, which she made her Twitter cover photo.
She also hinted she’d like an audio recording from their meeting released after she and the White House disagreed on what was said during the show-down.
‘I think it would be interesting if – you tell me – if we could have a recording,’ she said during her weekly press conference. ‘Because when they come out and say oh, this happened and that happened like we must have been at two different meetings because that didn’t happen.’
It’s unclear if the sit-down was taped.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was excusing herself from the room in the photo President Trump tweeted of their fiery White House confrontation
She also offered a few more details from the meeting, which the White House scheduled to update both Democratic and Republican lawmakers on the situation in Syria and relations with Turkey.
Pelosi claimed the Democrats came in with questions about the president’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops for Syria and that caused his ‘meltdown.’
‘What it did do is cause a melt down on the part of the president because he was unhappy with those questions. And it was unfortunate because we were invited to the meeting. The president started off the meeting by saying “I don’t know who asked for this meeting, I didn’t.” And we’re like, “well, let’s proceed anyway,”‘ she said.
The Speaker confronted the President on Wednesday after the House passed a bill condemning his sudden troop withdrawal from Syria by 354 votes to 60, with 129 Republicans joining the Democrats to show their disapproval.
Following the meeting both parties went on the attack, with Pelosi asking Americans to ‘pray for [Trump’s] health’ before Trump tweeted a photo of the confrontation with the caption ‘Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!’
The image – which shows Pelosi on her feet pointing a finger at Trump as Republican lawmakers and administration officials sit with their eyes downcast at his side – was quickly lauded by Democrats who praised her for standing up to Trump.
Donald Trump tweeted this photo of his fiery showdown with Nancy Pelosi over Syria, claiming it showed her having a meltdown – but it was quickly adopted by the Speaker as her new Twitter cover picture
While Trump attempted to use the photo to criticize the speaker, Democrats lined up to praise the image of her standing up to the President
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, was among the first to note the change, tweeting: ‘Thanks for the new cover photo Donald Trump!’
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, was among the first to note the change, tweeting: ‘Thanks for the new cover photo Donald Trump!’
Ted Lieu, a Democratic representative from California, added: ‘Thank you Speaker Pelosi for standing up for the American people!
‘Thank you for leading the House of Representatives to pass a resolution today opposing the failed policy of Donald Trump in Syria by a bipartisan vote of 354 to 60.
‘Thank you for not taking cr*p from the President.’
Congressman Bill Pascrell, of New Jersey, added: ‘Speaker Pelosi speaking out against trump’s disgraces to his face and every man on his side looks down in shame.
‘This image captures perfectly our sad era. One day this photo will be as iconic as a Norman Rockwell.’
Jimmy Gomez, another California representative, added: ‘In honor of Speaker Nancy Pelosi standing up for our democracy I changed my Twitter banner to the now epic White House photo of her standing up to the bully. BOSS.’
The photo was one of a series that Trump tweeted after the meeting, including another of Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer all looking downcast with the caption ‘do you think they like me?’
Democrats were quick to pick up the photo and praise Pelosi for confronting Trump
The final photo Trump sent to his followers was of empty seats after Pelosi and her fellow Democratic congressional leaders walked out, writing: ’The Do Nothing Democrats, Pelosi and Schumer stormed out of the Cabinet Room!’
The president continued to tout his own success by sharing a quote by Republican Congressman Brian Babin of Texas that said: ‘This President is the most patriotic President I’ve seen in many years. He is going to do what is good for Americans.’
Following Wednesday’s meeting, Pelosi told reporters at the White House she thought the president was shaken by a vote in the House of Representatives shortly before their meeting, where 129 Republicans joined Democrats to condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in a 354 to 60 vote.
‘We have to pray for his health – because this was a very serious meltdown,’ she told reporters in the Capitol building after her return from the White House, questioning Trump’s grip on reality.
Trump used her own words back against her, tweeting the now iconic photo with the words: ‘Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!’
Turning the tables: After Wednesday’s White House meeting on Syria where Democrats stormed out and Nancy Pelosi said Trump had a ‘meltdown’, Trump tweeted that she was the one having a meltdown and slammed her as a ‘very sick person’
Do Nothing Democrats! Trump then shared this image showing the empty seats of Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoye after they stormed out of Wednesday’s meeting
Touting his own success: Trump then shared this tweet quoting praise by Republican Congressman Brian Babin of Texas
The meeting was the denouement in a day of White House drama which saw Trump roiled by a mounting Syrian crisis with key developments including:
- Erdogan scoffed at U.S. efforts to broker a ceasefire, saying Turkey would never agree to one despite Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo being sent to talk to him;
- Turkish forces bombarded Kurdish-held towns in northern Syria for another day;
- Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles destroyed American ammunition left behind in the U.S. forces’ frantic retreat from northern Syria
- Trump called the Kurds – until this month key U.S. allies who helped defeat ISIS ‘no angels,’ and claiming they were ‘safer’ now;
- The president invited Russia to take over peace-keeping in Syria and claiming his U.S. troop pull-out was ‘strategically brilliant’;
- Trump claimed the Kurds had opened ISIS jail cells to try to get the U.S. back into Syria;
- The White House released a letter he wrote to Erdogan apparently to prove he did not give a green light to Turkish invasion writing: ‘Don’t be a tough guy.’
The incendiary meeting reportedly began with Trump claiming to Pelosi: ‘I hate ISIS more than you,’ according to a Democratic source. She responded: ‘You don’t know that.’
And the source said that in the course of the meeting, Pelosi told Trump: ‘All roads with you lead to Putin.’
But the meeting digressed, according to Democrats, as the leaders pushed Trump on his policy in Syria and the president insulted the speaker.
The two sides, however, couldn’t agree on what the insult was with some saying Trump called Pelosi a ‘third-rate’ politician and others saying he called her a ‘third-grade’ politician.
Release: Trump also published this photograph from inside the meeting of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by (left) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and (right) House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer saying: ‘Do you think they like me?’
Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks out of the White House with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
After top Democrats walked out of the Cabinet Room, they spoke to reporters at the front door of the White House.
‘The president was very shaken up by the fact that 354 – I had to make sure I had the number correct – and that means the majority, a big majority of the Republicans,’ Pelosi said.
‘We couldn’t continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it,’ she said.
But the White House claimed the Democrats ‘stormed out of the meeting’ to ‘whine’ while President Trump was ‘measured, factual and decisive’ during the sit down.
The White House also released an extraordinary letter Trump wrote to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan last Wednesday urging him not to invade northern Syria and saying: ‘Don’t be a tough guy! Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.’
A Democratic source said he had called the letter ‘nasty’ during the meeting; he had earlier claimed it would be ‘powerful’ and vindicate his claim not to have green-lighted Edrogan’s ground invasion of norther Syria.
Pelosi’s fellow Democratic Congressional leaders fumed about the president’s treatment of the Speaker after walking out.
‘He was insulting. Particularly to the Speaker,’ said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
‘She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third rate politician. He said that there are Communists involved and you guys might like that. This was not a dialogue. It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts.’
Pelosi said Trump called her a ‘third grade’ politician.
Pelosi said she responded to Trump: ‘I wish you were a politician, Mr. President, then you would know the art of the possible.’
The speaker said the White House scrapped a briefing for the full House scheduled for Thursday and the Democrats said they were concerned Trump did not have a strategy in the region.
‘I asked the president what his plan was to contain ISIS. He didn’t really have one,’ Schumer said.
Trump told Democrats ‘our plan is to keep the American people safe,’ prompting Pelosi to tell him ‘That’s not a plan. That’s a goal.’
The White House press secretary disputed the Democrats’ version of events.
WHAT DEMOCRATS SAY TRUMP SAID ON:
Third rate politician
‘There are Communists involved. You guys might like that.’
Escaped ISIS prisoners:
They are the ‘least dangerous’ ones
His former defense secretary, four-star Marine general James Mattis, NBC News reported:
‘World’s most over-rated 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.’
The meeting which the White House invited Congressional leaders to:
‘Someone wanted this meeting so I agreed to it.’
Democrats walking out:
‘Goodbye, we’ll see you at the polls’
‘The President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising. She had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues.
‘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,’ press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to DailyMail.com.
But Republicans who were at the meeting hardly jumped to defend Trump.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, told NBC News: ‘I didn’t have anything to say in the meeting, and I don’t have anything to say about it now.’
Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, passed no comment on Trump’s conduct towards Pelosi and said that after she, Schumer and Hoyer left, the meeting was ‘very productive.’
The meeting was a scheduled briefing for both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders on the situation with Turkey and Syria.
But, by the Democrats’ account, it quickly digressed.
‘You’re going to hear the president say we walked out,’ Hoyer said. ‘We were offended deeply by his treatment of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
‘The president, in my view, has created a crisis in the Middle East. A crisis that undermines the world’s competence in America.
‘This crisis required a rational, reasonable discussion between those of us elected by the American people to set policy.’
He added: ‘Unfortunately the meeting deteriorated into a diatribe, as the Leader Schumer has said, and a very offensive accusations being made by the president of the United States.
‘I have served with six presidents. I have been in many, many, many meetings like this. Never have I seen a president treat so disrespectfully a co-equal branch of the government of the United States.’
When Pelosi, Hoyer and Schumer walked out, Trump taunted: ‘Goodbye, we’ll see you at the polls,’ Democrats said.
Sources inside the party leveled more claims against Trump – including calling former Defense Secretary James Mattis ‘the world’s most overrated general.’
Trump, according to the person, was presented at one point with a quote from Mattis warning of an Islamic State group resurgence if the U.S. does not continue to apply pressure.
But Trump responded with the insult, criticizing Mattis for not being ‘tough enough.’
Trump also said during the meeting that 100 Islamic State prisoners had escaped following the U.S. withdrawal from the region, but insisted they were the ‘least dangerous’ ones.
Speaker Pelosi said President Trump had a ‘meltdown’ in a meeting with Congressional leaders
Tensions between Trump and Democratic leaders have been high since Speaker Pelosi formally launched an impeachment inquiry into the president last month.
This was Pelosi and Trump’s first face-to-face meeting since she launched the investigation.
But the Speaker said the topic of impeachment did not come up in the briefing.
‘No, it did not come up. Not at all. No, it did not come up. It did not come up,’ she said.
Pelosi’s public concerns for the president’s health just an hour after the White House revealed a letter showing how Trump tried to cajole Erdogan into negotiating with Syrian Kurds instead of invading, a letter released by the White House reveals.
‘History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen,’ the president wrote on October 9, as Erdogan’s forces prepared to cross into Syria.
‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’ he wrote. ‘I will call you later.’
Trump told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that he hadn’t given Erdogan ‘a green light’ to invade, and claimed releasing ‘a very powerful letter’ would dispel misconceptions about the impact of his troop withdrawal from Syria days before he wrote it.
‘If anybody saw the letter, which can be released very easily if you’d like – I could certainly release it,’ he said.
‘But I wrote a letter right after that conversation – a very powerful letter. There was never given a green light.’
The letter was initially leaked to Trish Regan, an evening anchor on the Fox Business Network, then confirmed by the White House as being genuine amid questions online over whether it was a parody.
Correspondence: The letter reveals how Trump asked Erdogan not to invade northern Syria
The letter appears to support the president’s contention that he didn’t give Erdogan his approval for the military campaign.
‘Let’s work out a good deal!’ he wrote. ‘You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy—and I will.’
Trump promised new concessions from Mazloum Kobani, commander of the Kurdish army known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.
‘General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past,’ he wrote. ‘I am confidently enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received.’
The U.S. has funded and trained Mazloum’s forces for at least five years. The SDF was America’s main proxy fighting the ISIS terror army in Syria.
The president has struggled to sidestep blame for the bloodshed that followed his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.
‘Maybe they’re going to fight it out,’ he said of Syria and Turkey, ‘but our men aren’t going to get killed over it.’
‘And just one other thing,’ he added. ‘They’ve been fighting for hundreds of years. This has been going on for hundreds of years.’
Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to disentangle America’s military from what he called ‘forever wars’ – longstanding conflicts that the Pentagon has stabilized, often with thousands, or tens of thousands, of servicemen and women.
Name-checked: Mazloum Kobani, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces was a key U.S. ally until earlier this month when Trump ordered a U.S. troop pullout. In the letter Trump claimed the commander would offer Erdogan unprecedented concessions
War: Turkish residents stood overlooking the Syrian border and the town of Ras al-Ein which is under attack by the Turkish military
‘I will do anything I can to help him, but I will also become President Trump’s worst nightmare,’ South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday
The House voted 354 to 60 for a resolution opposing Trump’s moves in Syria – with 129 Republicans rebuking Trump
He said Wednesday that the initial pullback from Syria only affected 28 military personnel, but another 1,000 stationed further to the south and east will be moved out of Syria entirely.
That description came in the course of two extraordinary White House press availabilities – first in the Oval Office, then a formal press conference with Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella – which saw Trump launch a series of incendiary claims which roiled his party.
He attacked U.S. allied Kurdish fighters as ‘no angels,’ and described them as a mercenary force, even as critics from both parties lamented a policy shift as leaving them victim to slaughter at the hands of the Turks.
‘Syria has a relationship with the Kurds – who by the way are not angels,’ Trump told reporters.
‘Who is an angel? There aren’t too many around. But Syria has a relationship with the Kurds. So they’ll come in for their border. And they’ll fight,’ Trump said.
‘They may bring partners in, they could bring Russia in. And I say welcome to it,’ Trump continued, after earlier in the day comparing the area to ‘a lot of sand’ that various sides can play with.
Trump welcomed further Russian military as Moscow teams with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and U.S. rival Iran to counter Turkey’s attack on Kurds in Syrian territory – a conflagration about which Trump proclaimed of Russia: ‘Welcome to it.’
But he is now facing Republican rebellion on a breathtaking scale.
Graham, who has been a Trump ally in fending off the Russia probe, blasted the president for abandoning Kurdish allies in Syria in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, where evangelical leaders have been voicing concern about the risk to minorities including Christians in the region.
‘I will do anything I can to help him, but I will also become President Trump’s worst nightmare,’ Graham vowed. ‘I will not sit along the sidelines and watch a good ally, the Kurds, be slaughtered by Turkey.’
Graham cautioned: ‘This is a defining moment for President Trump. He needs to up his game.’
Another forceful rebuke came in the vote tally for a House resolution to oppose ‘the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.’
After getting fast-tracked to the floor by Pelosi, the resolution was backed by 354 lawmakers – including 129 Republicans - with 60 House members voting against.
The resolution said the Kurds fought ‘courageously’ against the ‘brutality of ISIS.’
The resolution quotes from the surprise White House statement that announced the coming operation by Turkey and ‘calls on the United States to continue supporting Syrian Kurdish communities through humanitarian support, including to those displaced or otherwise affected by ongoing violence in Syria.’
It also calls on the White House to ‘present a clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat of ISIS,’ amid fears captured fighters will get the chance to renew territorial gains that had been wiped out.
This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows smoke rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa, on the first week of Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces
‘If Turkey goes into Syria it is between Turkey and Syria. It’s not our problem,’ Trump said Wednesday. Here a woman covers her face as she stands along the side of a road on the outskirts of the town of Tal Tamr near the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain along the border with Turkey in the northeastern Hassakeh province on October 16, 2019, with the smoke plumes of tire fires billowing in the background to decrease visibility for Turkish warplanes that are part of operation “Peace Spring”.
A T-155 Firtina fires at the points being specified as terror targets by the Turkish Armed Forces within Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in Sanliurfa, Turkey on October 15, 2019
Among Republicans, 129 voted for it and 60 against.
Voting for the bipartisan bill were House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who pushed back at Pelosi for calling out Trump’s White House ‘meltdown.’ Attending along with McCarthy was Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. McCaul also voted for it and was a cosponsor.
Fellow GOP leaders Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Liz Cheney of Wyoming also voted for it.
Democrats were for it 225 to 0.
Among the opposition were Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert, Trump loyalist Jim Jordan of Ohio, House Freedom Caucus head Mark Meadows of North Carolina, and Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana – the older brother of the vice president.
Fourteen lawmakers didn’t vote, including Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tusli Gabbard, who skipped the vote after blasting Trump and fellow Democrats on Syria policy during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Ohio.
The action came on a day when Trump blasted Graham, a frequent golf partner and ally in fending off the Mueller inquiry. Graham chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has said he wants to probe the alleged FBI misconduct as Trump wants him to do.
‘Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years with thousands of soldiers and fighting other people’s wars,’ Trump snapped. ‘I want to get out of the Middle East. I think Lindsey should focus right now on Judiciary – like the Democrats, the do-nothing Democrats,’ Trump admonished Graham.
‘And I think Lindsey should focus on Judiciary. He ought to find out about what happened with Comey, what happened with McCabe, Lisa, what happened with Peter Strzok, what happened with President Obama, what happened with Brennan,’ Trump said, firing off names of national security and FBI officials from the Obama era who he blames for the Russia probe.
‘That’s what Lindsey ought to focus on. That’s what the people of South Carolina want him to focus on. The people of South Carolina don’t want us to get into a war with Turkey – a NATO member – or with Syria. Let them fight their own wars. They’ve been fighting for 1,000 years. Let them fight their own wars. The people of South Carolina want to see those troops come home. And I won an election based on that. And that’s the way it is, whether it’s good or bad. That’s the way it is.’
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