Within hours of President Donald Trump downplaying the potential effectiveness of his upcoming meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democratic leaders said they opted to meet with Congressional Republicans instead of the president.
“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," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Tuesday.
The Democratic leaders said they asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to meet in lieu of their meeting with the president.
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump cited policy differences as a reason he didn't think he could reach a deal with them in their meeting that day:
Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer agreed in September to continue funding the government until Dec. 15. But as that deadline loomed, the two Democratic leaders suggested Trump still believed the country needed “a good shutdown.”
“If the President, who already said earlier this year that ‘our country needs a good shutdown,’ isn’t interested in addressing the difficult year end agenda, we’ll work with those Republicans who are, as we did in April," Pelosi and Schumer said.