WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that he and House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi spent their White House meeting with President Donald Trump trying to "untie the knots in logic he was tying himself in" and that he 'lives in a cocoon of his own mistruth."
In remarks on the Senate floor, the New York Democrat noted that as Trump on Tuesday called for shutting down the government to secure funding for a border wall, he was at the same time arguing that the current situation is already working.
"President Trump started by bragging about how great border security is going under his watch," Schumer said. "That, by the way, is with no wall. If it were truly the case, as the president said, that border security is better than it's ever been, what's wrong with another year of the same funding?"
"If things are going so great, why does he have to threaten to shut down the government for his $5 billion wall?" asked Schumer. "It makes no sense."
Schumer added that Trump lives in a "cocoon of his own mistruth" and that he and Pelosi "had to puncture that cocoon and he threw a temper tantrum because of it."
Schumer was referring to the Oval Office meeting that unraveled into a public, on-camera fight on Tuesday between him, Pelosi and Trump in which they bickered over how to address government funding before the Dec. 21 deadline to prevent a partial government shutdown.
Trump made it clear during the meeting, Schumer recalled Wednesday, that the president is prepared to "hold parts of the government hostage for a petty campaign pledge to fire up his base."
"If we don't get what we want one way or the other...I will shut down the government," Trump said Tuesday to Pelosi and Schumer in front of the press. "I am proud to shut down the government for border security...I will take the mantle of shutting it down."
"It was astounding that any president, even this one, would say that," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "No president should ever say that he or she would be proud to shut the government down."
Trump is calling on Congress to pass $5 billion for the border wall, but Democrats — whose votes the president needs — oppose that request.
The Democratic leaders gave Trump two options to keep the government open, with the first being Congress passing six remaining appropriations bills and a one-year spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security that maintains current funding levels, and the second being a one-year spending bill extending current levels for half of the government.