Trump Makes All His Senior Officials Take Turns Swearing He Didn’t Throw Tantrum With Pelosi

President Donald Trump has spent much of the past day insisting he’s definitely not mad about the derailed infrastructure meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, which lasted just minutes before the president walked out over Pelosi’s claim he’s engaged in a cover-up on the Russia investigation.

The House Speaker has since been engaged in a very public trolling campaign, telling reporters that Trump had a temper tantrum at the meeting. Pelosi has said that she’s keeping Trump in her prayers and suggested his family stage an intervention.

It’s clearly working. During his speech at the White House to discuss a $16 billion aid package to farmers hurt by the escalating trade war with China, the president raged about Pelosi while insisting he was totally fine.

He also, at one point, asked his top aides what his “temperament” was in the meeting with Pelosi and Schumer.

“Very calm, no temper tantrum,” Kellyanne Conway said dutifully.

Trump then went back to talking about his announcement, briefly, before turning back to Pelosi, calling her “a mess.”

After less than a minute, he turned back to another aide, Mercedes Schlapp, and asked her what his “attitude” was in the meeting.

“You were very calm and you were very direct,” Schlapp said. “You sent a very firm message to the Speaker and to the Democrats. And it’s very discouraging and disgraceful to see that the Speaker would decide an hour before coming to the White House to make those comments, call it — that there’s a cover-up, and then come to the White House and expect it to be a constructive meeting.”

Conway, not to be upstaged, interjected at one point to praise the president’s poise once more.

Trump — and this is not a joke, watch the video above — then proceeded to make Larry Kudlow, his director of the National Economic Council, Sarah Sanders, his press secretary, and Hogan Gidley, his deputy press secretary, all insist that he did not have a melt down at the meeting with Pelosi and Schumer.



Trump’s tweet derails House bill opposed by lobbyist with close White House ties

President Trump on Wednesday helped derail a bipartisan casino bill opposed by a key White House ally after tying the measure to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a leading Democratic candidate vying to challenge him in 2020.

The intervention by Trump, contained in a morning tweet, eroded Republican support and prompted House Democrats to postpone a vote on the measure, which would pave the way for a new Massachusetts tribal casino.

The bill, H.R. 312, would confirm the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s sovereignty over 321 acres of land — including the Taunton, Mass., site eyed for the casino project. It was scheduled for a House vote Wednesday under expedited procedures requiring a two-thirds majority to pass, reflecting its broad support.

But opponents, including Rhode Island lawmakers, have argued that the bill would harm the business of two neighboring casinos across the state line. A key Trump ally, American Conservative Union chairman Matthew Schlapp, is lobbying for Twin River Management Group, which operates both Rhode Island casinos. Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes, is the White House strategic communications director.

In a Wednesday morning tweet that blindsided lawmakers of both parties, Trump urged Republicans to oppose the measure.

“Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren,” Trump said, deploying a nickname he has frequently used to deride the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “It is unfair and doesn’t treat Native Americans equally!”

Warren co-sponsored a similar 2018 bill introduced by Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), but there is no Senate legislation pertaining to the tribe pending in the current Congress. The House bill, introduced by Rep. William R. Keating (D-Mass.), has the support of 15 Democratic co-sponsors, including the entire Massachusetts delegation, as well as six Republicans.

The singular focus on Warren appeared to reflect a strategy embraced by Schlapp, who focused on the senator in a Wednesday morning tweet and an email he sent Tuesday to Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“Potentially giving her a win on such an issue is a real head scratcher,” Schlapp wrote in the email obtained by The Washington Post. It linked to a February story on a conservative website headlined “Warren’s Casino Fiasco.”

In a brief phone interview, Schlapp asked for questions to be texted to him but did not respond to a text or a subsequent phone call. He later referred a reporter to his Twitter feed, where he posted a statement saying that he “lobbied against the casino because it is a “terrible idea” and that his wife “had no role in my advocacy.” Schlapp is well-known in Washington Republican circles as the lead organizer of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. A Warren spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

According to a person familiar with the circumstances surrounding the tweet, Trump was happy to attack the project once he learned it was a key priority for Warren. He agreed to send the tweet Tuesday evening, though it was not posted until the next morning, a senior White House official said.

But conservative opposition to the bill was brewing even before Trump’s tweet. White House officials have whipped against the vote in recent days — pointing to objections from the Interior Department, which in 2017 reversed a land decision, prompting the need for legislation.

Two prominent Republican lawmakers — Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), the ranking Republican on the Rules Committee and a supporter of the tribal legislation, and Rep. Gary Palmer (Ala.), chairman of the party policy committee and an opponent of the bill — sparred in a Tuesday night leadership meeting and again in a Wednesday morning GOP conference meeting. But Trump’s tweet appeared to seal its fate: House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) canceled plans for a vote less than two hours later.

“You get a little racist tweet from the president, and it creates a backwards stampede of people on the Republican side that previously indicated they were voting yes,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “The lobbyist for CPAC did a lot of sabotage in the last few days on this issue, and made it a conservative vs. Democrat issue when it’s not.”

A Democratic aide said the Mashpee bill probably will get a vote next week under different procedures requiring only a simple majority to pass.

Cole, a leading GOP voice on Native American issues, said Trump’s tweet was the “precipitating factor” for the bills getting pulled Wednesday and disputed the notion that the bill ought to be dismissed by Republicans because of Warren’s apparent support.

“The communities in the area want it. The state is on record wanting it. Every member of the Massachusetts delegation wants it. Why should we be intervening in a state like that when there is unanimity?” he said. “The real conflict here is between private gaming interests that don’t want Native American competition.”

Cole said he was not aware of Schlapp’s specific involvement in lobbying against the bill or whether he played a role in getting Trump to tweet about it. “I don’t think he knows very much about Indian issues,” Cole said of Schlapp.

Democrats were happy to highlight Schlapp’s possible role while bemoaning the vote’s cancellation Wednesday.

“It is also not lost on anybody that a lobbyist for the Rhode Island casino seems to have a very tight relationship with the White House,” said Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), who represents the area eyed for the casino project. “It’s sad. The consequence of this is going to be that the tribe that greeted the Pilgrims gets hurt once again by the U.S. government.”

The bill did, if only briefly, create some strange bedfellows between Trump and the all-Democratic Rhode Island delegation — whose members have worked against the Massachusetts casino plan for months.

“All I’m going to say is, I’m glad the bill was pulled from the floor today for a variety of reasons,” said Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.). “I don’t know the president’s interest or reasoning completely. I’m not going to comment on that.”

Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), who spent much of Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing lambasting Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr, declined to comment on Schlapp’s potential influence on the president.

He pointed instead to the lobbying done by the Mashpee tribe’s foreign investment partners: “There’s been tremendous lobbying on behalf of a Malaysian hedge fund. I’m very concerned about the level of lobbying.”

[Washington Post]

White House aide rages at ‘disgraceful’ Democrats for being upset about ripping apart families

The White House director of strategic communications went on Fox News on Monday to lash out at Democrats for criticizing the administration’s policy of separating families at the southern border and detaining children.

Mercedes Schlapp repeatedly claimed the administration’s “hands are tied” despite the fact the policy was voluntarily adopted and could end with a single phone call from President Donald Trump.

“What does the president want us to know this morning as this debate rages on and seems to be putting a lot of pressure on Republicans?” host Sandra Smith asked.

“Clearly, the president is fully committed to enforcing the law,” Schlapp replied. “This comes also with ensuring that the Democrats come to the negotiating table with immigration.”

“It is because the Democrats want to play politics with this issue, using children as political pawns, that we are not able to solve this problem,” Schlapp claimed.

Despite the fact that Trump started the family separation policy and could end it today, Schlapp admitted that the children were being used as leverage to try and get United States taxpayers to pay for Trump’s border wall, that he repeatedly promised would be paid for by Mexico.

“The president has made it very clear he wants to see full funding for the wall,” Schlapp admitted.

“Does the president feel like Democrats are controlling the message right now?” Smith asked the senior White House communications advisor.

“The Democrats are using this as an emotional issue, as a political issue into the midterm election,” Schlapp claimed. “That is disgraceful.”

[Raw Story]