In the latest episode of President Trump’s ongoing feud with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the president on Thursday dubbed Pelosi a “mess” and called out his aides — one-by-one — to back up his insistence that he “couldn't have been more calm” in his Wednesday meeting with Democrats.
“She's a mess. Look let’s face it, she doesn't understand it. They sort of feel she's disintegrating before their eyes, she doesn't understand it,” Trump said of Pelosi, suggesting she doesn’t understand the administration’s renegotiated trade deal with Canada and Mexico. “I don’t think she’s capable of understanding — got a lot of problems.”
As he questioned the House speaker’s intelligence, the president went on to dub himself “an extremely stable genius.”
Trump was clearly irritated by the narrative that emerged after he left a meeting with Democrats on Wednesday within minutes of his arrival and without ever shaking anyone's hand. He went on to appear before cameras and declared that he couldn't work with Democrats so long as they are investigating him, and then asked his aides to affirm how calm he was in the meeting.
He called on White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway first.
“I just want to let you know, every time I go into a room, if there aren’t cameras, they come out and say, ‘Oh, he was yelling, I was screaming.’ Kellyanne, what was my temperament yesterday?” Trump asked Conway.
“Very calm, no temper tantrum, I told the facts for this crowd, they published that you were fuming, termper tantrum, rage. That was just a lie. You were very calm,” Conway said.
The president turned to White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp next.
“What was my attitude when I walked in? Did I ever scream?” Trump asked Schlapp.
“No, you were very calm and you were very direct,” Schlapp responded, going on to say it was a disgrace that Pelosi would make her comments about a “cover up” and then expect a productive meeting with the president shortly after.
“Is Sarah there?” Trump said, asking for his press secretary to also back up his account.
When she wasn’t readily available, the president called on his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, to also recount his “calm” demeanor from the meeting the day prior.
A few moments later, Sarah Sanders entered the room.
“Hi Sarah,” Trump said. “We were talking about [the] meeting. You were there yesterday, weren’t you? Come forward.”
He then addressed Sanders with the same question.
“The narrative was I was screaming and ranting and raving and it was terrible. I watched Nancy yesterday. She was crazy with the hands and everything. She reminded me of Beto,” Trump said. “What was my tone yesterday?”
“Very calm. I've seen both. And this was definitely not angry or ranting,” Sanders responded. “Very calm and straightforward, and clear, that we have to actually work and do good things for the American people. And it is going to be impossible to do that if we're spending all of our time fighting.”
“Couldn’t have been more calm,” Trump said.