WASHINGTON (CBS SF / CNN) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco accused President Donald Trump of staging the Situation Room meeting Wednesday so he could walk out, calling the move “unpresidential.”
“Not only was the President unpresidential — surprise, surprise — yesterday in his behavior, I think the meeting was a setup, so he could walk out, but I’ll say just that,” Pelosi told reporters in her weekly briefing.
“I don’t even know that the President wants the wall, I think he just wants to debate on the wall,” she added.
Trump and Democrats remain stalemated over funding for Trump’s southern border wall, as the government shutdown enters its 20th day. House Democrats, meanwhile, will continue to vote on spending bills next week to reopen shuttered parts of government — but Trump has refused to sign them unless he his $5.7 billion wall request is fulfilled.
Asked by CNN’s Manu Raju how the House would respond if Trump declared a national emergency, Pelosi said “let’s see what he does.”
“If and when the President does that, you’ll find out how we would react,” she said, predicting Trump will have problems on his own side of the aisle “for exploiting this situation in a way that enhances his power.”
“I don’t think he really wants a solution,” she later added. “I think he loves the distraction.”
Asked what she would say to families who’ve lost family members in crimes by undocumented immigrants or to the opioid crisis, Pelosi acknowledged the deaths were tragic, but she said “the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not data” and that children were also dying in US custody and families were being separated.
“One death is more than we should be able to bear, whether it’s the corporal (referring to Cpl. Ronil Singh) or whether it’s the children, but the fact is we have to have public policy that secures the border and what the President is proposing would not eliminate those possibilities.”
She said it’s important to be “concerned about every death that happens because … we live in an imperfect world and that is very sad, but it is not a justification for having more children die in custody or be separated from their families.”
“I find that appalling,” she added. “They find it normal.”
Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, also blasted the President for tweeting Wednesday that he ordered FEMA to withhold funds to California in the aftermath of the wildfires unless the state “get(s) their act together” and conducts what he called “proper Forest Management.”
Pelosi said Trump had “no right to withhold those funds.”
“The votes he did get in California were in rural California,” she said. “If you think you’re punishing our state, you’re punishing your own voters.”
© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. CNN contributed to this report.