Democrats walk out of Syria meeting with Trump, saying he was insulting and went on a ‘nasty diatribe’ thumbnail

Democrats walk out of Syria meeting with Trump, saying he was insulting and went on a ‘nasty diatribe’

In remarks in the Oval Office, Trump insisted that the ongoing conflict was “between Turkey and Syria” rather than among “Turkey and Syria and the United States” — comments that provoked a fresh round of criticism from congressional Republicans who have said Trump’s decision to withdraw troops allowed the Turkish incursion last week into northern Syria.“They’re no angels. They’re no angels. Go back and take a look,” Trump said as he sat alongside Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whom the White House was hosting for a visit Wednesday. Trump insisted that the Kurds would be fine because they “know how to fight.”“There’s a lot of sand they can play with,” Trump said of the region. “It’s possibly never going to be very stable.”Tensions between Trump and lawmakers from both parties escalated Wednesday, including during an afternoon meeting with congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Turkey.Democratic leaders left the meeting early after they said Trump insulted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) as a “third-rate politician” in their first face-to-face meeting since the Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry and hours after the House adopted a resolution in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote that rebuked Trump’s move to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria — a decision announced Oct. 6 that has found few defenders on Capitol Hill.“He was insulting, particularly to the speaker. She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third-rate politician. … It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters after the meeting, which focused on Syria and during which impeachment was not discussed.Pelosi described Trump’s behavior as a “meltdown.” She later clarified that Trump called her a “third-grade politician,” not third rate.Republicans criticized Democratic leaders decision to leave the meeting, which was also attended by Democrats on national defense and foreign policy committees.“I see a pattern of behavior with Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said. “She storms out of another meeting, trying to make it unproductive. The other Democrats stayed and actually had a very productive meeting.”The meeting was tense from the start.Inside the Cabinet Room, Schumer began making his case against Trump’s decision to withdraw nearly all troops from northern Syria, reading to the president comments from former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this week, according to three officials familiar with the comments who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private exchange. Mattis had argued that the United States needed to keep the pressure on, arguing that if it didn’t, “then ISIS would resurge.”Trump then interjected and called Mattis the “world’s most overrated general” and remarked that he wasn’t “tough enough” and that Trump himself “captured” the Islamic State, according to the three officials. He boasted that his timeline for capturing the Islamic State was much faster than what Mattis predicted, saying “I captured them in one month.”Trump told Democrats that “I hate ISIS more than you” and repeatedly said “see you at the polls” before the leaders walked out, according to two people familiar with the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting.The White House disputed Democrats characterization of Trump’s deme
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