House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday there is room to work with President Donald Trump on infrastructure and prescription drug prices, but they aren’t getting their hopes up.
Pelosi said she hopes Trump outlines specifics about infrastructure and drug prices — areas where she believes they can work together — during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. She highlighted Infrastructure as a primary place for Democrats and Trump to work together.
The last time Pelosi spoke to Trump was when she re-invited him to give the State of the Union address last week, and she said they spoke for a while about those two issues. She believes his address to Congress is “an opportunity.”
But neither Pelosi nor Schumer is very hopeful. Schumer said if past is prologue, Trump will say some good things during the speech but then promptly drop it. But he also said a glimmer of hope comes from the fact that the President did not want to have a rally or a speech elsewhere when the State of the Union was first canceled.
“The fact that he wanted to do (the speech) here is a little ray of hope,” Schumer said.
Pelosi said of the President’s State of the Union address, “This isn’t something where we say ‘God, we hope he does a meltdown.'”
During the partial government shutdown Pelosi called off Trump’s State of the Union address “because the government is closed,” she said. The President demanded $5.7 billion for new border wall funding, and Democrats refused to allocate the funds, resulting in the longest government shutdown in US history. After more than a month, Trump eventually signed a short-term spending bill that reopened the government for three weeks, and it did not include the money for his proposed border wall.
Now, Pelosi said what Trump wants in terms of the border wall keeps changing. She said if the President wants to have “flowers from sea to shining sea” and call it a “wall,” that’s fine, but he is “not on the level.”
She also said a lot of what is already built that he calls a wall is “Normandy fencing,” which she said her grandchildren could climb over.
When asked by CNN about Trump and the GOP line that Pelosi has no room within her caucus to make a deal, Pelosi said that when the President says things like that he “projects” because the truth is he is concerned about his own GOP rank-and-file members. Any time Trump says like that, she said, “Turn it upside down. It’s about him.”
Both Pelosi and Schumer insisted they think they can find an agreement on border security, as long as the President leaves them alone to do their work.
Trump has said he is considering declaring a national emergency in order to build the wall. Pelosi said if that happens there will be a “grand civics lesson”— talk about the “separation of powers,” she said.