Trump and Pelosi trade barbs following acrimonious meeting

House speaker says she ‘prays for’ president and calls on his family to stage ‘intervention’

US president Donald Trump: called Ms Pelosi ‘crazy’ and said he was a ‘very stable genius’. Photograph: Kevin Dietsch/EPA

Tensions between US president Donald Trump and House Democrats deteriorated further, as House speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the president’s staff or family to stage an “intervention” with the president and Mr Trump denounced the House speaker as “a mess”.

Asked at her weekly press conference about Wednesday’s acrimonious meeting with Mr Trump and senate minority leader Chuck Schumer at the White House, Ms Pelosi said: “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.”

Later in the day, Mr Trump was asked about her comments at an event in the White House announcing a $16 billion aid package for farmers.

Denouncing her as “crazy Nancy”, he said that he was “very calm”.


“I think she’s got a lot of problems,” he said of the House speaker. “She is a mess.

“I have been watching her for a long period of time. She’s not the same person. She’s lost it.”

He also asked several members of his staff present at the event to vouch for his temperament at the meeting. “Kelly, what was my temperament yesterday,” he asked White House counsel Kellyanne Conway. “Very calm, no temper tantrum,” she said. “You stood at the end of the table, made your case.”

Mr Trump has received several setbacks in recent days over Democrats' attempts to gain access to his financial records

At one point during the press conference he remarked: “I’m a very stable genius.”

Ms Pelosi responded on Twitter. “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.”

Infrastructure plan

Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer visited the White House on Wednesday to discuss an infrastructure plan. But the meeting ended within minutes after the president denounced Democrats’ efforts to demand information about Mr Trump’s affairs through various congressional committees.

Mr Trump has received several setbacks in recent days over Democrats’ attempts to gain access to his financial records. A judge in New York on Wednesday overruled his bid to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capitol One to hand over records requested by Congress, while a Washington, DC judge also ruled that the House Oversight Committee could have access to financial documents.

Despite Ms Pelosi’s comments on Thursday, the House speaker reiterated her belief that impeachment should not be pursued at this stage, even though she said the president had committed impeachable offences.

“I think impeachment is a very divisive place for us to go in the country,” she said, adding that the White House “is just crying out for impeachment”.

‘Dumb as a rock’

Earlier in the day, Mr Trump hit out at his former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who briefed congressional leaders on Capitol Hill earlier this week. Apparently responding to reports that Mr Tillerson said that Russian president Vladimir Putin was better prepared for his meeting with Mr Trump in Helsinki last June than the US president, Mr Trump shot back on Twitter: “Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!”

US farm exports to China have been sharply curtailed since the beginning of the trade war

Thursday’s announcement of a $16 billion aid package for farmers was the latest sign that Mr Trump’s trade war with China is hurting American producers.  Under the package announced by the White House, $14.5 billion of the sum will be paid directly to farmers, while $1.4 billion will be in the form of government purchases of goods to be distributed to food banks. Thursday’s announcement follows a $12 billion bailout granted to farmers last year when China first imposed restrictions on imports of US products in retaliation for tariffs introduced by Trump.

US farm exports to China have been sharply curtailed since the beginning of the trade war, with products such as soybean particularly affected.

Mr Trump said on Thursday that he is due to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan next month.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent