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Pelosi on Trump's push for border wall: 'It's like a manhood thing for him'

Los Angeles Times logo Los Angeles Times 12/11/2018 Jennifer Haberkorn

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, speaks to a reporter as she and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., right, walk back into the West Wing after speaking to members of the media outside of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, following a meeting with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) © AP House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, speaks to a reporter as she and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., right, walk back into the West Wing after speaking to members of the media outside of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, following a meeting with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) WASHINGTON - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi struck where she thought President Trump was most vulnerable - his manhood.

In an extraordinary Oval Office meeting, Trump said Tuesday that he would be "proud" to shut down the government in order to get Congress to fund the border wall he campaigned on.

Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) left a testy meeting without a deal to avert a Dec. 21 shutdown.

Afterward, Pelosi said Trump was obsessed with the wall and offered her interpretation of why, in a deeply personal dig that the president might have appreciated if if weren't about him.

"It's like a manhood thing for him - as if manhood could ever be associated with him," Pelosi told fellow Democrats in a closed-door meeting after the Oval Office encounter, according to an aide in the room.

Even as a seasoned House leader, Pelosi found the White House meeting - aired partly in front of TV cameras - remarkable.

"The press is all there! Chuck is really shouting out. I was trying to be the mom," Pelosi told her fellow Democrats. "I can't explain it to you. It was so wild. It goes to show you: You get into a tickle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.'"

Nevertheless, she said, Democrats came away with the upper hand.

"The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his," she said. "That was an accomplishment."

The Oval Office meeting laid bare the political standoff between Trump and the top Democrats in Washington over funding for the border wall, which Trump in 2016 said Mexico would pay for.

The meeting came as Pelosi has her own political considerations at play. She is trying to come up with 218 votes on the House floor in order to become speaker in January. She won the approval of the vast majority of her fellow Democrats in an internal party vote last month but has not yet secured the votes she will need on the floor.

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