Pelosi suggests a Trump 'intervention' is needed amid war of words
Democratic House Speaker still says now is not time for formal impeachment hearings
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she wishes President Donald Trump's family or staff would conduct an "intervention" with him for the good of the United States after he threw what she called a temper tantrum at a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders a day earlier.
Trump fired back, questioning Pelosi's mental state by saying she has "lost it" while calling himself an "extremely stable genius."
As the acrid fight intensified between the Republican president and the Democrats who control the House amid talk of impeaching Trump, work on a two-year federal budget deal has ground to a near standstill as the task of basic governing in Washington has become increasingly complicated.
Trump, who is seeking re-election in 2020, and Democratic leaders lobbed accusations and insults at each other for a second straight day after the collapse of an infrastructure deal that could have pumped $2 trillion US into the U.S. economy, had lawmakers and the president found a way to pay for it.
"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.
An "intervention" often refers to relatives, friends or co-workers confronting an individual struggling with a intractable problem in the hope of improving that person's behaviour.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon at the White House, Trump took aim at Pelosi.
"I tell you what, I've been watching her and I have been watching her for a long period of time. She's not the same person. She's lost it," Trump said during remarks about an aid package for farmers hit by the U.S. trade war with China.
On Wednesday, shortly before a previously scheduled meeting with Trump at the White House to discuss infrastructure investment legislation, Pelosi accused Trump of a "coverup" in regard to investigations related to Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
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 is stonewalling multiple congressional inquiries into him, his policies, family and business holdings. Pelosi has worked hard to tamp down demands among some Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings. Some Democrats fear that launching the impeachment process in Congress established in the U.S. Constitution to remove a president from office could backfire and benefit Trump politically.
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."
Pelosi called Trump a "master of distraction."
Pelosi 'irresponsibile': top Republican
Both White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders and White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway have accused Pelosi of imperious behaviour in media interviews since Wednesday's dust-up.
When asked about Conway's comments by a reporter Thursday, Pelosi responded, "I'm not going to talk about her."
Even though Trump has indicated he is not willing to engage in bipartisan work on legislation as long as House Democrats are investigating him, 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.
Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress want to strike a two-year deal on federal spending levels and raising the U.S. Treasury Department's borrowing authority.
Both are needed to avert government shutdowns and a possible credit default later this year.
Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, said in his weekly address that Pelosi was "irresponsible" to make her "coverup" remark ahead of a meeting that had been weeks in the making.
McCarthy, from California, suggested that House members should not go on break for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend but stay to hammer out bipartisan legislation to "show the American public we can govern."
McCarthy said it's "time to move on" from the Mueller report, but Republican congressman Justin Amash doubled down on his contention last week that the president committed impeachable acts from the information he's seen in the redacted report.
Amash, from Michigan, detailed his thoughts and conclusions in a multi-tweet burst Thursday afternoon.
Some of the president’s actions were inherently corrupt. Other actions were corrupt—and therefore impeachable—because the president took them to serve his own interests.—@justinamash
"Some of the president's actions were inherently corrupt. Other actions were corrupt — and therefore impeachable — because the president took them to serve his own interests.
The Republican Freedom Caucus in the House, a group to which Amash belongs, voted unanimously on Monday to formally censure him for speaking out on the subject of impeachment.