WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Wednesday walked out of a planned meeting to discuss infrastructure issues with Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, amid frustrations over ongoing investigations into his presidential campaign and administration.
Trump walked out of the meeting after three minutes, opting instead to hold a news conference in the Rose Garden.
“I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure, I want to do it more than you want to do it,’” he said. “‘But you know what, you can’t do it under these circumstances, so get these phony investigations over with.’”
President Trump: "I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, 'I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it…but you know what, you can't do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.'" pic.twitter.com/VR7oB4GbxM— CSPAN (@cspan) May 22, 2019
Democrats said the walkout seemed scripted. Pelosi called it all "very, very, very strange" and said she was praying for Trump and the nation.
.@SpeakerPelosi on President Trump and infrastructure: "He just took a pass. And it just makes me wonder why he did that. In any event, I pray for president of the United States and I pray for the United States of America." pic.twitter.com/i8qPN0GsJG— CSPAN (@cspan) May 22, 2019
The meeting at the White House had been set weeks ago, after Trump and the Democratic leaders agreed to talk further about a possible $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. Trump was due to provide the Democrats his ideas on how to pay for it. Schumer said when Trump "was forced to say how he would pay for it he had to run away."
.@SenSchumer on President Trump and infrastructure: "To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop…it's clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the president's part. It was planned." pic.twitter.com/kIeFhHbDXP— CSPAN (@cspan) May 22, 2019
Earlier Wednesday, after a closed-door hearing with Democrats, Pelosi accused Trump of being “engaged in a cover-up” aimed at blocking oversight related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and its possible ties to Trump and his campaign officials.
Mueller completed his probe last month after 22 months of investigation. In a report released earlier this month, Mueller said his team found no evidence that Trump or his campaign officials colluded with Russia to win the election. He did not, however, make a determination around whether Trump obstructed justice in connection to the investigation.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and consistently framed Mueller’s investigation as an expensive and politically motivated “witch hunt” aimed at hurting his presidency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.