House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about what happened at a meeting Wednesday in the White House where the president was supposed to discuss infrastructure with Congressional Democratic leaders. Trump said in a Rose Garden statement that the meeting did not go as planned because he was angry about Pelosi accusing him of a cover-up.
"He came into the room, made a statement that... I won't even characterize," Pelosi said. "For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part, that he really couldn't match the greatness of the challenge that we have, wasn't really respectful of the reason -- of the Congress and the White House working together. He just took a pass. And it just makes me wonder why he did that."
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: This morning, we went to the White House for a follow-up meeting with the president, follow-up to a meeting we had a few weeks ago, where we agreed on a dollar figure, where we agreed on the percentage of 80/20, in terms of responsibility, and we discussed some priorities about infrastructure. It was agreed at that time that we would return today to talk about how we would cover the cost of such a proposal.
Last night, in the time in between, the president was making some sounds that would question how serious he could be if he was saying what he was saying, and last night he put forth a letter saying that unless we passed the U.S./Mexico/Canada free trade agreement, there was no reason for us to -- you know, we couldn't go forward with infrastructure. We didn't see those two as related, but the fact is, hopeful, optimistic, and seeing the necessity for a big infrastructure initiative for our country, we went in the spirit of bipartisanship to find common ground with the president on this.
He came into the room, made a statement that he made, I won't even characterize it, but I will say this, and what I said after he left, Thomas Jefferson, when he was president of the United States tasked his Secretary of the Treasury, Gallatin, to put forth an infrastructure proposal, initiative for the country. It would follow the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Louisiana purchase, it would be about the Erie Canal, the Cumberland road, things like that to build into America.
One hundred years later, Teddy Roosevelt did his infrastructure big initiative and it was called the establishment of the National Parks Service, the green infrastructure of America. We had hoped that we could give this president an opportunity to have a signature infrastructure initiative to create jobs, to improve the quality of life, to just do so much for our country on the ongoing -- not only the jobs it created by building, but the commerce it would promote. And that included roads and bridges and mass transit -- well, broadband into rural America and other underserved areas, clean water, wastewater, all of the things that have numerous needs.
The American society of civil engineers says it's in the trillions, the deficit we have, we're talking about a couple of billion dollars. For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part, that he really couldn't match the greatness of the challenge that we have, wasn't really respectful of the reason -- of the Congress and the White House working together. He just took a pass. And it just makes me wonder why he did that. In any event, I pray for the president of the United States. And I pray for the United States of America.