President Donald Trump, while seated between two empty chairs, lambasted top Democrats for bailing on a Tuesday meeting set to discuss budgetary plans and tax reform.
“So they decided not to show up,” the president said. Printed name tags for both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who skipped out on the meeting after the president suggested he didn't expect to reach a deal with the Democratic leaders, sat on the table beside Trump.
After Trump tweeted “don't see a deal!” ahead of their planned meeting, Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement: “Given that the president doesn't see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead.”
Trump responded following the planned meeting: “They've been all talk, and they've been no action. And now it's even worse. Now, it's not even talk.” He added, however, that he was “not surprised” by Pelosi and Schumer's absence.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sat at opposite ends of a long table inside the Roosevelt Room of the White House beside the two empty chairs flanking the president.
Both top Republicans shared their own regret over their Democratic colleagues' cancelations. Ryan called the move “very regrettable,” while McConnell echoed a statement he made earlier in the day, claiming he “can't ever recall ever turning down an opportunity to go down to the White House.”
However, critics of McConnell have pointed to reports from the Obama era suggesting the Senate leader may have skipped out on a few dinners with then-President Barack Obama.
The president also responded to North Korea's latest missile test, the first since mid-September. “We will take care of it,” Trump said.
Trump appeared to indicate that the rogue nation's latest provocation may bring Democrats to the negotiating table in order to iron out the budget and fund the military.
“Right now, things have changed over the last two hours because two hours ago, a missile was launched. I think that will have a huge effect on Schumer and Pelosi. I think,” the president said.
“They should be calling immediately and say, 'We want to see you,' but probably they won't because nothing to them is important other than raising taxes,” he added.
“That's the only thing they like doing, is raising taxes.”
Watch the president's remarks below, via CNN.