Top Democrats pull out of White House meeting after Trump tweet

He sat between two chairs left empty for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of NY and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democrats who skipped the meeting. For dramatic effect, Trump was flanked by two empty chairs where the Senate and House Minority Leaders would be sitting had they showed up to the White House.

Their attempt to divide and conquer failed, though, after Republican leaders stuck by Mr. Trump and attended the meeting at the White House anyway, saying Democrats were recklessly risking a shutdown by refusing to talk to the country's chief executive and the man who must sign whatever bills Congress eventually passes. I think. We'll see.

Schumer and Pelosi didn't come rushing into that briefing, where Trump also weighed in on the Senate's tax plan and North Korea's missile launch. "There is a meeting at the White House this afternoon, and if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will be there".

The president lashed out at Democratic Sen. Claire Mc Caskill, a Missouri lawmaker who opposes the Republican tax reform plan

So what do Schumer and Pelosi have to lose by going to the mat against President Trump on this issue?

"Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes", he wrote. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "The President's invitation to the Democrat leaders still stands, and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work".

U.S. officials confirmed the launch, saying they believe an intercontinental ballistic missile was tested, and the Japanese Prime Minister's office said the missile landed within 200 miles of the island nation's coast, according to NBC News.

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And on Capitol Hill, some progress was made on Tuesday during talks on the Republican tax bill.

The other reason why this is a bad move for the Democrats is that there's no lock on who will take the blame if a shutdown occurs.

On December 8, the US government will run out of money (though the deadline may be temporarily extended to later in the month). Meanwhile, Democrats have set a self-imposed December deadline to grant illegal immigrant Dreamers full citizenship rights, and Mr. Trump says he wants funding for his border wall and other immigration restrictions.

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How this increases the potential for a shutdown: Trump's sticking on issues important to his base makes him less likely to compromise with Democrats, who want to advance polar opposite issues important to their base.

Two hours later, Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi struck back.

"We're not going to sit down just for a photo op", Schumer said.

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But the president's extraneous tweets and quips have diverted attention from Trump's agenda at a time of maximum outcome for his tax proposal and with a series of looming budget deadlines and other priorities in Congress. Wednesday's tweets came hours before Trump was departing for Missouri to rally support for his tax plan in the Senate.