Nancy Pelosi says Trump had a 'meltdown' during White House meeting

Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump go head-to-head over Syria as she walks out of White House summit saying ‘pray for his health’ because he ‘was not relating to reality’ and he accuses her of ‘unhinged meltdown’ – after Republicans rebel over pull-out

  • Democratic congressional leaders walked out of a meeting with Donald Trump on Syria also attended by top Republicans
  • Meeting came shortly after House voted to rebuke Trump on his troop pull-out with 129 Republicans joining Democrats to slam him
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump ‘was just not relating to the reality of it’ and said: ‘We have to pray for his health – because this was a very serious meltdown.’
  • Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said: ‘He was insulting… to the Speaker. She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third rate politician’ 
  • He called James Mattis, former defense secretary, ‘world’s most over-rated general’ and said escaped ISIS prisoners were ‘least dangerous’ ones, Dems said 
  • The White House claimed the Democrats ‘stormed out of the meeting’ to ‘whine’ while President Trump was ‘measured, factual and decisive’ 
  • Trump tweeted his own response to Pelosi, publishing official White House pictures showing them clashing and their empty chairs after they left 
  • After they left Liz Cheney, the third most senior House Republican, invoked 9/11 as she rebuked him for not caring about terrorists from 7,000 miles away 
  • White House also released extraordinary letter Trump sent to Turkish president Erdogan asking him not to invade Syria and saying: ‘Don’t be a tough guy!’
  • Came after Trump called withdrawal ‘brilliant,’ the Kurds ‘no angels’ and invited Russia to take charge of the north of Syria – setting off fury in Republican party
  • Lindsey Graham said he would be ‘president’s worst enemy’ if he did not reverse course in Syria – senator is key ally in Trump fighting off impeachment 

Democratic congressional leaders walked out of a White House meeting with Donald Trump on Wednesday after they claimed he had a ‘meltdown’ and insulted Speaker Nancy Pelosi – prompting him to angrily throw the insult back in their faces.

Pelosi urged prayers for the president’s mental health and questioned his grip on reality.

‘We have to pray for his health – because this was a very serious meltdown,’ she told reporters in the Capitol building after her return from the White House. 

The speaker told reporters at the White House she thought the president was shaken by a vote in the House of Representatives shortly before their meeting, where 129 Republicans joined Democrats to condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in a 354 to 60 vote. 

Among them were the top three House Republicans, who also attended the meeting.

In response, Trump seemed to mimic Pelosi’s accusations that he had a meltdown, and similarly urged his supporters to pray for her.

He tweeted: ‘Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her “upstairs,” or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!’ 

Back at you: Trump used the description of his conduct leveled at him by other Democratic leaders to accuse Pelosi of an ‘unhinged meltdown’

Confrontation: Trump tweeted a picture taken by the White House photographer as evidence of what he claimed was Pelosi’s ‘unhinged meltdown.’ Among those at the meeting on Trump’s side from right: Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary; Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader; Mark Esper, Defense Secretary; Donald Trump; General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader; unknown; Steve Scalise, minority whip; unknown; at head of table Eric Ueland, White House head of legislative affairs. On the other side from left: Michael McCaul,  House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking Republican; unknown; Jack Reed, ranking Democrat on Senate Armed Services Committee; Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader; Nancy Pelosi; out of shot, Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader; Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; Robert Menendez, ranking Democrat on Senate Foreign Affairs Committee; Liz Cheney,House Republican conference chair; Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Trump also tweeted official White House photographs from inside the meeting captioning one: ‘Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!’

It showed his aides and the country’s most senior military leader staring at the table as Pelosi, standing, pointed a finger towards him. Pelosi embraced the picture, with her chief of staff saying mockingly ‘Thank you for the cover photo, @realdonaldtrump.’

The meeting was the denouement in a day of White House drama which saw Trump roiled by a mounting Syrian crisis with key developments including:

  • Erdogan scoffed at U.S. efforts to broker a ceasefire, saying Turkey would never agree to one despite Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo being sent to talk to him;
  • Turkish forces bombarded Kurdish-held towns in northern Syria for another day;
  • Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles destroyed American ammunition left behind in the U.S. forces’ frantic retreat from northern Syria 
  • Trump called the Kurds – until this month key U.S. allies who helped defeat ISIS ‘no angels,’ and claiming they were ‘safer’ now;
  • The president invited Russia to take over peace-keeping in Syria and claiming his U.S. troop pull-out was ‘strategically brilliant’; 
  • Trump claimed the Kurds had opened ISIS jail cells to try to get the U.S. back into Syria;
  • The White House released a letter he wrote to Erdogan apparently to prove he did not give a green light to Turkish invasion writing: ‘Don’t be a tough guy.’ 

The incendiary meeting apparently began with Trump claiming to Pelosi: ‘I hate ISIS more than you,’ according to a Democratic source. She responded: ‘You don’t know that.’ 

And the source said that in the course of the meeting, Pelosi told Trump: ‘All roads with you lead to Putin.’ 

The Washington Post reported that Trump said he wasn’t concerned about terrorists 7,000 miles away.  

When Pelosi led a Democratic walkout, Liz Cheney, the third most senior House Republican and daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney told Trump the terrorists responsible for 9/11 came from ‘7,000 miles away.’

Release: Trump also published this photograph from inside the meeting of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by (left) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and (right) House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer saying: ‘Do you think they like me?’

Aftermath: Trump tweeted this picture of the empty chairs left by the three Democratic leaders when they left

Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks out of the White House with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

After top Democrats walked out of the Cabinet Room, they spoke to reporters at the front door of the White House.

‘The president was very shaken up by the fact that 354 – I had to make sure I had the number correct – and that means the majority, a big majority of the Republicans,’ Pelosi said.    

‘We couldn’t continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it,’ she said. 

But the White House claimed the Democrats ‘stormed out of the meeting’ to ‘whine’ while President Trump was ‘measured, factual and decisive’ during the sit down.  

The White House also released an extraordinary letter Trump wrote to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan last Wednesday urging him not to invade northern Syria and saying: ‘Don’t be a tough guy! Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.’

A Democratic source said he had called the letter ‘nasty’ during the meeting; he had earlier claimed it would be ‘powerful’ and vindicate his claim not to have green-lighted Edrogan’s ground invasion of norther Syria.  

Pelosi’s fellow Democratic Congressional leaders fumed about the president’s treatment of the Speaker after walking out. 

‘He was insulting. Particularly to the Speaker,’ said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. 

‘She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third rate politician. He said that there are Communists involved and you guys might like that. This was not a dialogue. It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts.’ 

Pelosi later clarified that Trump said ‘third grade.’ 

Pelosi said she responded to Trump: ‘I wish you were a politician, Mr. President, then you would know the art of the possible.’  

Pelosi said the White House scrapped a briefing for the full House scheduled for Thursday and the Democrats said they were concerned Trump did not have a strategy in the region.

“I asked the president what his plan was to contain ISIS. He didn’t really have one,” Schumer said.

A Democratic source told the Washington Post that Schumer asked Trump: ‘Is your plan to rely on the Syrians and the Turks?’

Trump replied ‘our plan is to keep the American people safe,’ prompting Pelosi to tell him ‘That’s not a plan. That’s a goal.’ 

The White House press secretary disputed the Democrats’ version of events.   


Nancy Pelosi:

Third rate politician

ISIS fighters:

‘There are Communists involved. You guys might like that.’

Escaped ISIS prisoners:

They are the ‘least dangerous’ ones

His former defense secretary, four-star Marine general James Mattis, NBC News reported:

‘World’s most over-rated general. You know why? He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month.’

The meeting which the White House invited Congressional leaders to:

‘Someone wanted this meeting so I agreed to it.’

Democrats walking out:

‘Goodbye, we’ll see you at the polls’ 

‘The President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising. She had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues. 

‘While Democratic leadership chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine, everyone else in the meeting chose to stay in the room and work on behalf of this country,’ press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to 

But Republicans who were at the meeting hardly jumped to defend Trump.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, told NBC News: ‘I didn’t have anything to say in the meeting, and I don’t have anything to say about it now.’ 

Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, passed no comment on Trump’s conduct towards Pelosi and said that after she, Schumer and Hoyer left, the meeting was ‘very productive.’

The meeting was a scheduled briefing for both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders on the situation with Turkey and Syria.

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to go to Turkey after tensions have ratcheted in the wake of Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and Turkish troops crossing into the country to attack the Kurds. 

But, by the Democrats’ account, it quickly digressed. 

‘You’re going to hear the president say we walked out,’ Hoyer said. ‘We were offended deeply by his treatment of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

‘The president, in my view, has created a crisis in the Middle East. A crisis that undermines the world’s competence in America. 

‘This crisis required a rational, reasonable discussion between those of us elected by the American people to set policy.’ 

He added: ‘Unfortunately the meeting deteriorated into a diatribe, as the Leader Schumer has said, and a very offensive accusations being made by the president of the United States. 

‘I have served with six presidents. I have been in many, many, many meetings like this. Never have I seen a president treat so disrespectfully a co-equal branch of the government of the United States.’

One Democratic source told McClatchy that when Pelosi, Hoyer and Schumer walked out, Trump taunted: ‘Goodbye, we’ll see you at the polls.’ 

He also denigrated his predecessor Barack Obama, Reuters reported. 

Sources inside the party leveled more claims against Trump – including calling former Defense Secretary James Mattis ‘the world’s most overrated general.’

Trump, according to the person, was presented at one point with a quote from Mattis warning of an Islamic State group resurgence if the U.S. does not continue to apply pressure. 

But Trump responded with the insult, criticizing Mattis for not being ‘tough enough.’

Trump also said during the meeting that 100 Islamic State prisoners had escaped following the U.S. withdrawal from the region, but insisted they were the ‘least dangerous’ ones. 

Tensions between Trump and Democratic leaders have been high since Speaker Pelosi formally launched an impeachment inquiry into the president last month.

This was Pelosi and Trump’s first face-to-face meeting since she launched the investigation.

But the Speaker said the topic of impeachment did not come up in the briefing. 

‘No, it did not come up. Not at all. No, it did not come up. It did not come up,’ she said. 

Pelosi’s public concerns for the president’s health just an hour after the White House revealed a letter showing how Trump tried to cajole Erdogan into negotiating with Syrian Kurds instead of invading, a letter released by the White House reveals.

‘History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen,’ the president wrote on October 9, as Erdogan’s forces prepared to cross into Syria.

‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’ he wrote. ‘I will call you later.’

Trump told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that he hadn’t given Erdogan ‘a green light’ to invade, and claimed releasing ‘a very powerful letter’ would dispel misconceptions about the impact of his troop withdrawal from Syria days before he wrote it.

‘If anybody saw the letter, which can be released very easily if you’d like – I could certainly release it,’ he said.

‘But I wrote a letter right after that conversation – a very powerful letter. There was never given a green light.’

The letter was initially leaked to Trish Regan, an evening anchor on the Fox Business Network, then confirmed by the White House as being genuine amid questions online over whether it was a parody. 

Correspondence: The letter reveals how Trump asked Erdogan not to invade northern Syria

The letter appears to support the president’s contention that he didn’t give Erdogan his approval for the military campaign.

‘Let’s work out a good deal!’ he wrote. ‘You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy—and I will.’

Trump promised new concessions from Mazloum Kobani, commander of the Kurdish army known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

‘General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past,’ he wrote. ‘I am confidently enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received.’

The U.S. has funded and trained Mazloum’s forces for at least five years. The SDF was America’s main proxy fighting the ISIS terror army in Syria.

The president has struggled to sidestep blame for the bloodshed that followed his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.

‘Maybe they’re going to fight it out,’ he said of Syria and Turkey, ‘but our men aren’t going to get killed over it.’

‘And just one other thing,’ he added. ‘They’ve been fighting for hundreds of years. This has been going on for hundreds of years.’

Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to disentangle America’s military from what he called ‘forever wars’ – longstanding conflicts that the Pentagon has stabilized, often with thousands, or tens of thousands, of servicemen and women.

Name-checked: Mazloum Kobani, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces was a key U.S. ally until earlier this month when Trump ordered a U.S. troop pullout. In the letter Trump claimed the commander would offer Erdogan unprecedented concessions 

War: Turkish residents stood overlooking the Syrian border and the town of Ras al-Ein which is under attack by the Turkish military 

‘I will do anything I can to help him, but I will also become President Trump’s worst nightmare,’ South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday

The House voted 354 to 60 for a resolution opposing Trump’s moves in Syria – with 129 Republicans rebuking Trump

He said Wednesday that the initial pullback from Syria only affected 28 military personnel, but another 1,000 stationed further to the south and east will be moved out of Syria entirely.

That description came in the course of two extraordinary White House press availabilities – first in the Oval Office, then a formal press conference with  Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella – which saw Trump launch a series of incendiary claims which roiled his party.

He attacked U.S. allied Kurdish fighters as ‘no angels,’ and described them as a mercenary force, even as critics from both parties lamented a policy shift as leaving them victim to slaughter at the hands of the Turks.

‘Syria has a relationship with the Kurds – who by the way are not angels,’ Trump told reporters.

‘Who is an angel? There aren’t too many around. But Syria has a relationship with the Kurds. So they’ll come in for their border. And they’ll fight,’ Trump said.

‘They may bring partners in, they could bring Russia in. And I say welcome to it,’ Trump continued, after earlier in the day comparing the area to ‘a lot of sand’ that various sides can play with. 

Trump welcomed further Russian military as Moscow teams with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and U.S. rival Iran to counter Turkey’s attack on Kurds in Syrian territory – a conflagration about which Trump proclaimed of Russia: ‘Welcome to it.’ 

 But he is now facing Republican rebellion on a breathtaking scale.

Graham, who has been a Trump ally in fending off the Russia probe, blasted the president for abandoning Kurdish allies in Syria in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, where evangelical leaders have been voicing concern about the risk to minorities including Christians in the region.   

‘I will do anything I can to help him, but I will also become President Trump’s worst nightmare,’ Graham vowed. ‘I will not sit along the sidelines and watch a good ally, the Kurds, be slaughtered by Turkey.’

Graham cautioned: ‘This is a defining moment for President Trump. He needs to up his game.’

Another forceful rebuke came in the vote tally for a House resolution to oppose ‘the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.’

After getting fast-tracked to the floor by Pelosi, the resolution was backed by 354 lawmakers – including 129 Republicans –  with 60 House members voting against. 

The resolution said the Kurds fought ‘courageously’ against the ‘brutality of ISIS.’

The resolution quotes from the surprise White House statement that announced the coming operation by Turkey and ‘calls on the United States to continue supporting Syrian Kurdish communities through humanitarian support, including to those displaced or otherwise affected by ongoing violence in Syria.’

It also calls on the White House to ‘present a clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat of ISIS,’ amid fears captured fighters will get the chance to renew territorial gains that had been wiped out.

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows smoke rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa, on the first week of Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces

‘If Turkey goes into Syria it is between Turkey and Syria. It’s not our problem,’ Trump said Wednesday. Here a woman covers her face as she stands along the side of a road on the outskirts of the town of Tal Tamr near the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain along the border with Turkey in the northeastern Hassakeh province on October 16, 2019, with the smoke plumes of tire fires billowing in the background to decrease visibility for Turkish warplanes that are part of operation “Peace Spring”.

A T-155 Firtina fires at the points being specified as terror targets by the Turkish Armed Forces within Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in Sanliurfa, Turkey on October 15, 2019

Among Republicans, 129 voted for it and 60 against. 

Voting for the bipartisan bill were House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who pushed back at Pelosi for calling out Trump’s White House ‘meltdown.’ Attending along with McCarthy was Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. McCaul also voted for it and was a cosponsor.

Fellow GOP leaders Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Liz Cheney of Wyoming also voted for it.

Democrats were for it 225 to 0.

Among the opposition were Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert, Trump loyalist Jim Jordan of Ohio, House Freedom Caucus head Mark Meadows of North Carolina, and Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana – the older brother of the vice president.

Fourteen lawmakers didn’t vote, including Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tusli Gabbard, who skipped the vote after blasting Trump and fellow Democrats on Syria policy during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Ohio. 

The action came on a day when Trump blasted Graham, a frequent golf partner and ally in fending off the Mueller inquiry. Graham chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has said he wants to probe the alleged FBI misconduct as Trump wants him to do. 

‘Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years with thousands of soldiers and fighting other people’s wars,’ Trump snapped. ‘I want to get out of the Middle East. I think Lindsey should focus right now on Judiciary – like the Democrats, the do-nothing Democrats,’ Trump admonished Graham.  

‘And I think Lindsey should focus on Judiciary. He ought to find out about what happened with Comey, what happened with McCabe, Lisa, what happened with Peter Strzok, what happened with President Obama, what happened with Brennan,’ Trump said, firing off names of national security and FBI officials from the Obama era who he blames for the Russia probe.

‘That’s what Lindsey ought to focus on. That’s what the people of South Carolina want him to focus on. The people of South Carolina don’t want us to get into a war with Turkey – a NATO member – or with Syria. Let them fight their own wars. They’ve been fighting for 1,000 years. Let them fight their own wars. The people of South Carolina want to see those troops come home. And I won an election based on that. And that’s the way it is, whether it’s good or bad. That’s the way it is.’

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