House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday redirected an attack from President Donald Trump on Twitter, turning a photo he had tweeted of her during a contentious White House meeting with the caption “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” into her Twitter cover shot.
The image released by the White House shows the California Democrat standing with her finger pointed at a seated Trump during a meeting in which congressional Democratic leaders said the President had a “meltdown.”
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill noted the change on Twitter, writing, “Thanks for the new cover photo @realDonaldTrump!”
Reporters were not allowed in the meeting Wednesday and CNN does not typically report on photos released by the White House because they cannot be independently verified as an accurate depiction of the events in the room. Pelosi reclaiming and promoting the image that Trump meant as an attack, however, marks a notable – and newsworthy – exception.
Democratic leaders were at the White House for a meeting on Syria, which came shortly after the House overwhelmingly in a bipartisan vote passed a resolution opposing the Trump administration’s troop withdrawal.
On Thursday, Pelosi told reporters that her line of questioning to Trump on his foreign policy decisions is what caused the President to have the “meltdown.”
“It just didn’t add up,” Pelosi said of Trump’s foreign policy decisions, over which she said she pressed the President. “But what it did do was cause a meltdown on the part of the President because he was unhappy with those questions.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting on Wednesday, the top congressional Democrats said they had walked out. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said they had done so when Trump “started calling Speaker Pelosi a third-rate politician.”
“He was insulting, particularly to the speaker. She kept her cool completely, but he called her a third-rate politician,” Schumer said. “This was not a dialogue, it was sort of a diatribe. A nasty diatribe, not focused on the facts.” Pelosi said Trump had actually referred to her as a “third-grade politician.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham described the meeting differently, saying in a statement that Pelosi “had no intention of listening” and that Trump had been “measured” and “decisive.”
Later Wednesday, the President tweeted a series of photographs from the meeting along with insults. In one tweet, he called Pelosi “a very sick person!”
Tensions between congressional Democrats and the White House have escalated sharply in recent weeks as Democrats push forward in their impeachment investigation into Trump and his contacts with Ukraine. Lawmakers have conducted a steady stream of closed-door depositions this week as part of the inquiry.
CNN’s Devan Cole and Clare Foran contributed to this report.