Walk­ing away a Trump tac­tic? It’s in ‘The Art of the Deal’

Daily Southtown - - NATION&WORLD - By Shan­non Pet­ty­p­iece and Mar­garet Talev

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to storm out of a meet­ing with con­gres­sional lead­ers Wed­nes­day shocked some on Capi­tol Hill. But those who have done busi­ness with him rec­og­nized it as one of his trade­mark ne­go­ti­at­ing tac­tics.

Long be­fore he en­tered the White House, Trump was known to have done the same thing when a deal wasn’t go­ing his way. He even walked out of a judge’s cham­bers dur­ing di­vorce pro­ceed­ings.

His exit Wed­nes­day, how­ever, ap­peared to gain him lit­tle trac­tion with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Demo­cratic law­mak­ers who at­tended the Sit­u­a­tion Room meet­ing. She called Trump’s ap­proach to the shut­down talks “pa­thetic,” and Sen­ate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer said the pres­i­dent had thrown a “tem­per tantrum.”

But, ac­cord­ing to Jay Gold­berg, who was Trump’s lawyer from 1989 to 2014 and han­dled two of his di­vorces, the pres­i­dent has rea­son to be­lieve that walk­ing out could be ef­fec­tive.

“He crafted that ap­proach, it’s one he owns,” Gold­berg said. “He has a ten­dency to ar­gue, and if he is not sat­is­fied he will leave the room, dis­ap­pear, doesn’t come back and the peo­ple are on edge won­der­ing where he is. And then when he feels it is the ap­pro­pri­ate time he comes back.”

Trump’s ap­proach to the cur­rent stand­off with con­gres­sional Democrats — in which he is re­fus­ing to sign off on fund­ing to re­open much of the gov­ern­ment un­til Democrats give him $5.6 bil­lion to pay for a wall at the Mex­i­can bor­der — may be viewed through the same lens.

While Pelosi and Schumer stood aghast out­side the White House in the windy chill af­ter Trump ended their meet­ing, the pres­i­dent was in­side, tweet­ing: “Just left a meet­ing with Chuck and Nancy, a to­tal waste of time. I asked what is go­ing to hap­pen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you go­ing to ap­prove Bor­der Se­cu­rity which in­cludes a Wall or Steel Bar­rier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, noth­ing else works!”

Dick Durbin, the Sen­ate’s No. 2 Demo­crat, who also at­tended the meet­ing, said he sus­pected that Trump thought the law­mak­ers would stay in the room and ne­go­ti­ate with Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence. But they fol­lowed his lead — and left.

“It was pretty clear his heart was not in it,” Durbin said. “I think he’s get­ting im­pa­tient.”

Trump has not kept the tac­tic a se­cret. “Ne­go­ti­a­tions 101: The best deals you can make are the ones you walk away from ... and then get them with bet­ter terms,” he said on Twit­ter in 2014.

“Know when to walk away from the ta­ble,” he tweeted in 2011, quot­ing from his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal.”

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