US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that President Donald Trump threw a temper tantrum at a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders a day earlier and that she wished his family or staff would conduct “an intervention” with him for the good of the country.
In a second consecutive day of tough words about Trump by the Democratic speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Pelosi accused Trump of obstruction of justice, which she said is an impeachable offence.
“Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family, or his administration, or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi told reporters.
Democrats, who control the House, and Trump are engaged in a high-stakes power struggle over their ability to investigate him, with the president stonewalling multiple investigations of him by congressional committees.
The probes range from whether Trump obstructed justice during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian election meddling to his personal finances and businesses.
On Wednesday, shortly before a previously scheduled meeting with Trump at the White House to discuss infrastructure investment legislation, Pelosi accused Trump of a “cover-up” in regard to investigations related to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US elections.
Her remarks rankled Trump and prompted him to walk out of the infrastructure meeting after just three minutes, possibly sinking the legislation’s prospects.
Trump said it was impossible to work on such legislation as long as Democrats were continuing their “phony” investigations of him.
Trump later tweeted that was not true that he threw a tantrum. “I was purposely very polite and calm, much as I was minutes later with the press in the Rose Garden,” he said.
At her weekly news conference on Thursday, Pelosi remained on the attack, repeating her contention from the previous day that Trump was incapable of working on complex legislative issues.
“I can only think that he wasn’t up to the task of figuring out the difficult choices of how to cover the cost of … the important infrastructure legislation that we had talked about three weeks before.”
While she raised the issue of obstruction, Pelosi also said that House Democrats were not yet prepared to launch formal impeachment proceedings against Trump.
“I do think impeachment is a very divisive place to go,” Pelosi told a news conference when asked about how Democrats plan to proceed. But she added the facts could lead to a place that makes impeachment “unavoidable”.
Even though Trump has indicated that he is not willing to engage in bipartisan work on legislation as long as House Democrats are investigating him, both Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday challenged Republicans in Congress to leave the Republican president behind and continue working on legislation without him if he is unwilling to engage.
Politicians are trying to put the finishing touches on a long-delayed disaster aid bill.
Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress want to strike a two-year deal on federal spending levels and raising the US Treasury Department’s borrowing authority.
Both are needed to avert government shutdowns and a possible credit default later this year.