President Trump Insults Rep. Adam Schiff As He Tries To Push Back On GOP Memo
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
President Trump visited a manufacturer outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, today to sell the new tax law, saying it will be good for workers and the U.S. economy. But that's not the headline from the president's speech. President Trump strayed from the topic to attack Democrats with the controversy over dueling memos and the Russia investigation. And the stock market dropped more than a thousand points this afternoon.
NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith joins us now. Hi, Tam.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi.
SHAPIRO: Let's start with this debate over these dueling Republican and Democratic memos. And we have some news tonight that the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the countermemo from the Democrats, the response to the GOP memo. What does the White House have to say about this?
KEITH: They haven't said anything since that vote. The White House position is that they will consider it just like they considered the Republican memo that they put out last week. But this comes in the context of some tweets from President Trump today, including one where he called the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, a - little. He called him little, and then he called him a liar and a leaker. And Adam Schiff did say that he thought it would be hard for the White House to block the release of the memo given that there was bipartisan support for releasing it. During his speech this afternoon, seemingly out of nowhere, President Trump seemed to reference that Republican memo which over the weekend he had said vindicated him.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Did we catch them in the act or what? You know what I'm talking - oh, did we catch them in the act? They are very embarrassed. They never thought they would get caught. We caught them. Hey, we caught them. Oh, it's so much fun. We're like the great sleuth.
KEITH: It is safe to say that President Trump will probably have less fun as he considers the Democratic rebuttal memo and whether to release it.
SHAPIRO: And in this speech, President Trump also went after Democrats for not clapping enough during last week's State of the Union address, a speech in which he said he wanted to work with Democrats. Tell us what he said.
KEITH: Yeah. So this was an official event. It wasn't a rally. It was not a political event. It was supposed to be a teleprompter speech from the president about the Republican tax cuts. But then he meandered. He went off-script. He started talking about the upcoming midterm elections. And then he started complaining about how Democrats had sat stone-faced during much of the State of the Union address last week. He said he didn't even want to look at them because of the, quote, "bad energy."
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
TRUMP: They were like death and un-American - un-American. Somebody said treasonous. I mean, yeah, I guess why not?
TRUMP: Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn't seem to love our country very much.
KEITH: It goes without saying that not clapping does not meet the definition of treason. And it is...
SHAPIRO: Thank you for that fact check.
KEITH: Yeah, fact check. But truly remarkable how far in such a short period of time we've come from last week's speech when he was calling for bipartisanship and unity.
SHAPIRO: And it was this weird split screen because as President Trump was talking, the stock market was falling and falling and falling. This is a president who has talked a lot about how well the stock market has done in the last year. Did he mention the fact that the Dow lost more than a thousand points today?
KEITH: He said nothing in that speech at all, which is notable because as late as last Thursday, he was talking up the market successes. Later today the White House put out a statement that was focused on long-term economic fundamentals, saying the fundamentals are strong. You know, the market is not the economy, which is why it's always hazardous as a politician to link yourself to the markets.
SHAPIRO: That's NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Thank you.
KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.