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Chuck and Nancy make nice with Trump for infrastructure meeting, don’t discuss investigations

President Trump blamed a former aide for his flawed infrastructure plan his first year in office and praised a $2 trillion proposal put forward by Nancy Pelosi after offering her Freshmint Tic Tacs during a Tuesday meeting at the White House.

Trump told lawmakers that he never wanted a public-private partnership because ‘you get sued’ and would be willing to go a route that ‘may not be typically Republican,’ a Democratic source told DailyMail.com.

The president said that a top aide who’s no longer with the administration, Gary Cohn, crafted the proposal he’s eager to ditch.

‘That was a Gary bill. That bill was so stupid,’ the source said Trump told a room of Democratic lawmakers.   

The president agreed to double his original ask from Congress for repairs, settling on $2 trillion because he favors the big, round number.

‘I like the number you’ve been using, Nancy. Two trillion,’ he said. ‘Two trillion. That number you can talk about.’

He also promised Democrats in the closed-door meeting, ‘I’ll lead on this.’     

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats had a ‘productive’ meeting with President Trump on Tuesday. She’s seen here leaving the West Wing with Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats had a ‘productive’ meeting with President Trump on Tuesday, despite their ‘difficulties’ in other areas.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says it was ‘constructive’ and investigations into the president did not come up.      

A White House statement described it as an ‘excellent’ conversation on infrastructure improvements. 

It was marked change from the last time the leaders, their aides and other lawmakers sat down together to discuss a funding priority at the White House.  

Trump memorably stormed out a January meeting on immigration when Pelosi refused to bend to his will and the leaders had not sat down for formal talks since.

An unexpected detente between Democratic leaders and the White House emerged, however, as the two parties agreed to work toward a $2 trillion infrastructure deal that cannot pass without bipartisan support. They said they’ll rendezvous to discus it in three weeks and could use the kindling to develop a drug pricing agreement.

The president said that a top aide who's no longer with the administration, Gary Cohn, crafted the proposal he's eager to ditch

The president said that a top aide who’s no longer with the administration, Gary Cohn, crafted the proposal he’s eager to ditch

‘It was a very constructive meeting. It’s clear that both the White House and all of us want to get something done on infrastructure in a big and bold way,’ Schumer, a New York senator, told reporters outside the White House.

He added, ‘There was goodwill in this meeting, and that was different than some of the other meetings that we’ve had which is a very good thing.’

‘We told the president that we needed his ideas on funding, that the last bill he proposed which, a, was smaller, but, b, took as much money away, and the speaker emphasized this, took as much money away as it put in wasn’t going to work, so where does he propose that we can fund this because certainly in the Senate, if we don’t have him on board, it will be very hard to get the Senate to go along,’ he said.

Schumer declared it a ‘very, very good start’ and shared his optimism for a ‘constructive conclusion’ to the bill-making process. 

The White House had warned earlier in the day that talks would fall apart if Democrats pushed climate change projects and investigations into the president during the meeting.

Democrats had zeroed out talks about Trump’s soon-to-be-released immigration overhaul. 

Neither deal-breaker seemed to come up on Tuesday, as congressional Democrats came to a large group of reporters to talk up the conversation. 

Pelosi said Democrats in the room, including tax committee Chairman Richard Neal, didn’t bring up the probes, and a White House statement suggested Trump’s border wall was also a moot topic.

Schumer told press, ‘In previous meetings the president has said if these investigations continue I can’t work with you. He didn’t bring it up, and so we’re going. I believe we can do both at once. We can come up with some good ideas on infrastructure, and we want to hear his ideas on funding.  

‘And the House and the Senate can proceed in its oversight responsibilities. The two are not mutually exclusive, and we’re glad he didn’t make it that way,’ the top-ranking Senate Democrat said.

Schumer told press, 'In previous meetings the president has said if these investigations continue I can't work with you. He didn't bring it up, and so we're going. I believe we can do both at once. We can come up with some good ideas on infrastructure, and we want to hear his ideas on funding

Schumer told press, ‘In previous meetings the president has said if these investigations continue I can’t work with you. He didn’t bring it up, and so we’re going. I believe we can do both at once. We can come up with some good ideas on infrastructure, and we want to hear his ideas on funding

He said they would reconvene with Trump in May, and they expect the president to come ready with a new funding proposal for the project.

‘We agreed that the same group would meet in about three weeks, and the president would present his ideas on funding, and we would take it from there,’ Schumer said.

Earlier that morning, before Democrats arrived at the White House, counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway declined to provide details on potential sources of funding, including a gas tax.

She warned Democrats to stay on topic rather and away from climate change proposals they 

WHAT TRUMP WANTS 

  • Possibly wall funding
  • Repairs to bridges and roads
  • Money to stop water main breaks
  • A better air traffic control system 
  • Broadband internet in rural areas
  • 5G internet for smartphones
  • Artificial intelligence development

‘We welcome this meeting, they requested the meeting. The president and Speaker Pelosi have spoken at length about it, in fact the president tweeted about it the last few months that when they hung up the phone they agreed to work on some of the issues,’ she said. 

‘But it has to be about infrastructure,’ she added. ‘I read the letter yesterday – hopefully they’re coming here not to try a shot at the Green New Deal to get through Congress with a single Democratic vote… but we’ll be listening.’

Conway told DailyMail.com that Trump wants to develop 5G internet and expand broadband into rural areas, in addition to ‘basic infrastructure’ repairs of roads of bridges.

‘So I know people like to joke it’s infrastructure week again, I’m very happy that it’s bipartisan infrastructure day, anyway, and that the Democrats are coming here. I only hope that they’re honest brokers that this is about infrastructure,’ she stated. 

The meeting with Democrats took place off camera, and Conway suggested it was to keep Democrats from grandstanding.

‘Well you can get them to hear – I think they behave differently – some people behave differently when the press is in the room than when they’re not,’ she said. ‘Having been in the room when press is there and having been in the Situation Room where it’s closed press, and the Situation Room, I can assure you that it’s different.’

Democratic leaders and President Donald Trump attempted to reset their relationship, following months of fiery disputes over illegal immigration and Trump's conduct, in the Oval Office in a Tuesday meeting the White House kept out of the public eye

Democratic leaders and President Donald Trump attempted to reset their relationship, following months of fiery disputes over illegal immigration and Trump’s conduct, in the Oval Office in a Tuesday meeting the White House kept out of the public eye

Democratic leaders and President Donald Trump attempted to reset their relationship, following months of fiery disputes over illegal immigration and Trump’s conduct, in the Oval Office in a Tuesday meeting the White House kept out of the public eye. 

Trump hosted Pelosi, Schumer and other Democrats at the White House on Tuesday for a conversation on infrastructure. The conversation about the bipartisan priority took place at Pelosi’s request.   

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders declined to preview the meeting on Monday morning yet said it’s a ‘big step’ in the right direction that the leaders are sitting down with one another. Trump stormed out of a January meeting after they refused to kowtow to his immigration demands. 

A letter outlining Democratic funding priorities that Pelosi and Schumer sent Trump in advance of the meeting suggested that trouble could be brewing once more. 

‘To truly be a gamechanger for the American people, we should go beyond transportation and into broadband, water, energy, schools, housing and other initiatives,’ they said. ‘We must also invest in resiliency and risk mitigation of our current infrastructure to deal with climate change.’ 

The White House closed the meeting to press to keep another scene like this one from playing out. Trump bickered with Democrats on national television and made claims he didn't keep

The White House closed the meeting to press to keep another scene like this one from playing out. Trump bickered with Democrats on national television and made claims he didn’t keep 

Trump stormed out of a January meeting after they refused to kowtow to his immigration demands. Schumer and Pelosi are seen leaving an earlier meeting, in December, where Trump promised not to shutdown the government on camera

Trump stormed out of a January meeting after they refused to kowtow to his immigration demands. Schumer and Pelosi are seen leaving an earlier meeting, in December, where Trump promised not to shutdown the government on camera

Trump, seen here on Saturday at a rally in Wisconsin, didn't keep his word. He shut down the goverment

Trump, seen here on Saturday at a rally in Wisconsin, didn’t keep his word. He shut down the goverment 

Trump has called climate change a ‘hoax’ and made the ultra-progressive ‘Green New Deal’ climate change proposal his punching bag.

While he has not talked about his vision for infrastructure reform for some time, aside from White House complaints that Democrats should work with Trump on the issue instead of scouring the Republican president’s past for possible crimes, his latest budget includes a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

His proposal calls for $200 billion in new federal spending. The rest of the money would come from public-private partnerships and private investment.

Pelosi and Schumer’s letter to Trump did not include a funding request. Rather, it spelled out three specific areas of concern for the president to consider before they come over.

‘A big and bold infrastructure plan must have strong Buy America, labor, and women, veteran and minority-owned business protections in any package,’ the third bullet says. ‘This bill can and should be a major jobs and ownership boost for the American people – manufacturers, labor contractors, and women, veteran and minority-owned businesses.’ 

The topic of immigration also came up, a source said Tuesday, as Trump press secretary Sanders predicted it would. 

‘The primary focus of that is infrastructure but certainly wouldn’t be surprised if immigration isn’t discussed, as well. Two very big topics,’ Sanders said on Monday morning.

Trump believes his wall is a major infrastructure project, and he still wants Democrats to fund it. 

‘Certainly the wall is part of infrastructure, but that’s not what we’re talking about today, maybe he’ll mention it,’ Conway told DailyMail.com. ‘But it tells you how important it is to, first that the infrastructure projects really should be to secure our sovereign nation and to give it borders that are real and that work.’

Sanders observed Monday that the meeting is on its face a sign of remarkable progress.

‘I think it is a big step that both sides who have frankly had a lot of hostility towards one another over the last couple months are sitting down at the table and discussing an issue that has to be addressed,’ she stated. ‘And they both are showing a willingness to do something about it. And I think that’s a good first step.’

Trump’s meeting with Pelosi and Schumer is the first since since an immigration blow-up on Jan. 9 that preceded his national emergency declaration.

The president says he left the meeting after the Democratic leaders denied to pay for his border wall. 

He called it a ‘total waste of time’ in a tweet. ‘I said bye-bye, nothing else works!’ he declared. 

Pelosi and Schumer were similarly displeased with the meeting, which came amid a partial government shutdown.

‘It’s cold out here, and the temperature wasn’t much warmer in the Situation Room,’ she told journalists waiting for her outside the White House. 

Tensions have since thawed a little between Trump and Pelosi since the dispute. He’s made it known that he is pleased by her opposition to some Democratic lawmakers’ desire to impeach him.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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