As Tuesday’s White House talks between President Trump, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer turned into an on-camera debate on border wall funding, it soon became clear that both Democratic politicians would have been much more comfortable having the discussion away from public view.
Talks were going well until Pelosi used the words “Trump shutdown” to describe the government shutdown that could happen if a deal wasn’t reached.
As the two sides debated the issue, both Democratic leaders expressed their desire to talk privately more than once. Trump, on the other hand, seemed to relish the debate, even using the word “transparency” to describe it.
“Let’s call a halt to this,” said Pelosi at around the middle of the televised exchange. “We have come in here as the first branch of government. Article I. The legislative branch. We are coming in good faith to negotiate with you about how we can keep the government open.”
“Open,” Schumer echoed.
“We are going to keep it open if we have border security,” said Trump. “If we don’t have border security, Chuck, we are not going to keep it open.”
“I’m with you,” said Pelosi. “We are going to have border security.”
“You are bragging about what has been done,” Schumer told Trump. “We want to do the same thing we did last year this year. That’s our proposal. If it’s good then, it’s good now, and it won’t shut down the government.”
When Trump told him we “can build more,” Schumer said: “Let’s debate in private. OK? Lets debate in private.” (RELATED: TRUMP SAYS ‘I’M PROUD TO SHUT DOWN GOVERNMENT’ TO SCHUMER, PELOSI)
Even when the on-camera conversation seemed to be at an end, it continued.
Pelosi stated that the conversation has “spiraled downward,” saying later, “We came in here in good faith, and we entered into this kind of discussion in the public view.”
“But it’s not bad, Nancy,” interrupted Trump. “It’s called transparency.”
“I know. It’s not transparency when we’re not stipulating to a set of facts and we want to have a debate with you about saying we confront some of those facts … ” Pelosi started before continuing. “Let us have a conversation where we don’t have to contradict in public the statistics that you put forth but instead can have a conversation about what will really work,” she said later.
Pelosi later told reporters that her desire to have the conversations in private was because she didn’t want to correct Trump in public.
“I hear the reporters or Fox reporters saying why did we not want transparency in this discussion,” said Pelosi. “We don’t want to contradict the president when he was putting forth figures that had no reality to them, no basis in fact. We had to if we are going to proceed in all of this have evidence-based factual, truthful information about what works and what doesn’t. I didn’t want to in front of those people say you don’t know what you are talking about.”