Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the newly minted chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, appeared to imply Thursday that President Donald Trump's poor character motivates his ongoing feud with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).
On Wednesday, Pelosi uninvited Trump from the Capitol to issue the State of the Union address—ostensibly for security concerns but widely considered a political stunt—and Trump responded by canceling her international trip the next day.
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CNN reporter Manu Raju asked Schiff what lesson the country should take from the dysfunction in Washington. Schiff put no blame on Pelosi in his response.
"All too often in the last two years the president has acted like he's in the fifth grade, and to have someone who has that kind of character running the country is an enormous problem at every level," Schiff said, adding that he cannot be sure what motivated Trump to cancel the congressional delegation.
Schiff argued that the State of the Union should not be held during a partial government shutdown, which is ongoing because of a budget impasse. Trump has demanded billions of dollars to build a wall along the southern border, but Pelosi has said a wall would be "immoral" and refused to acquiesce to the funding request.
Schiff said Trump will not force the House to refrain from oversight of the administration.
"One thing we are adamant about and that is we are not going to let the president of the United States tell the Congress you can't do your oversight. That appears what's going on here," he said.
Schiff called Trump's decision to cancel the trip an "impetuous act," saying the decision was likely made recently because the Defense Department had not notified the delegation about the cancelation.
"We've been in communication with the Defense Department until very recently, this came as news to them, and you'd have to ask the White House when this decision was made," Schiff said. "It certainly sounds like it was another impetuous act of a president who has difficulty controlling his response to things."
Pelosi has had some difficulty with other Democrats favoring less of a hard line on border security funding. Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) and various House members have called for compromise of some kind.