House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer canceled their scheduled meeting with the President and their GOP counterparts to discuss the pending spending deal. They cited a lack of confidence they could cut a deal with the President and will instead meet just with their counterparts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
First, the President Tweeted this:
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
The Democrats responded 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.”
The top two Democrats in Congress canceled a meeting with President Trump slated for later Tuesday, saying they didn’t see him as a viable partner in trying to strike an end-of-year spending deal.
The stunning move attempts to further sideline Mr. Trump and portray him as at odds with his party’s own leadership in Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced their decision to skip the meeting hours after Mr. Trump said he doubted they could reach a deal on an end-of-year spending bill.
This is a strategy that has the potential to work. It’s slim; if the President realizes what they’re doing or believes the advisers who tell him what they’re doing, it can backfire.
Their move to work with their counterparts has nothing to do with the spending bill. It has nothing to do with DACA. This is all about trying to turn President Trump against the Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and visa versa.
In other words, they’re trying to play the egos leading the executive and legislative branches against each other.
The seeds have been planted for a while. They circumvented Republican leaders and went straight to the President to move on DACA, confusing and often infuriating McConnell, Ryan, and their camps. Now, they’re going in the opposite direction by meeting with congressional leaders and keeping the President out of it. There is zero doubt President Trump will be upset by this, particularly if McConnell and Ryan can make a deal with their counterparts.
They’re trying to drive the wedge that already exists between the White House and Congress deeper and broader. They aren’t looking at the spending bill and they aren’t too interested in a win on DACA. They’re looking at the midterm elections. Their strategy in using the wedge is to fan the flames of chaos. That’s all.
If congressional leaders and the White House can recognize what the Democrats are attempting to do, they can actually turn the maneuver against them. If they don’t, they’ll fall right into the trap. The GOP is focused on moving forward their agenda while the Democrats are focused on creating chaos. The side that achieves their goals the best will likely come out on top in 2018.