Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) gave a detailed account of the emotional meltdown that President Donald Trump had with congressional Democrats at the White House on Wednesday.
Appearing on CNN Thursday morning, Menendez broke down how Trump started raging at Democrats from the second he entered the room.
“The meeting started off with the president walking in and slamming down his files on the table,” Menendez said. “It was belligerent from the get-go… you have the president of the United States, who is supposed to bring our country together, particularly in times of challenges, [calling] the Speaker a third-rate politician.”
Menendez then detailed how Trump claimed that American-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria were “communists,” and he then belittled the career of Ret. Gen. James Mattis, who served as the president’s first secretary of defense.
The senator went on to describe how uneasy he feels having someone with Trump’s temperament serving as commander in chief.
“I did not see a person who was of the temperament and had a grasp of the issues that would ultimately show a sense of feeling that there was a person totally in control,” he said. “And what I saw yesterday, I have not seen in 27 years in serving under four different presidents.”
President Donald Trump belittled his former defense secretary, Jim Mattis, by characterizing him as the “world’s most overrated general,” according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.
But the meeting went off the rails after Schumer recalled an interview Mattis had with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. During the interview, Mattis refused to analyze Trump’s decisions and motivations for the US withdrawal, but added that “ISIS would resurge” without a continued strategy against the militants.
Trump interrupted Schumer’s line of thought, according to The Post, and alleged Mattis was not “tough enough,” three officials familiar with the meeting said. Trump reportedly also claimed he had “captured” ISIS and did so faster than what his former defense secretary had predicted.
The meeting ended abruptly when Democrats left after Trump reportedly called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “third-rate politician,” according to the congresswoman. Prior to the Democrats leaving the meeting, Trump reportedly told them, “I hate ISIS more than you,” and added, “see you at the polls,” in an apparent reference to the 2020 US presidential election.
Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, resigned in December, citing disagreements with Trump’s policy on Syria. In his resignation letter, he said he was no longer able to carry out Trump’s policies and that as the commander-in-chief, Trump was entitled to “a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”