This post has been updated.
This week, President Trump twice returned to one of his favorite stalled agenda items: infrastructure.
“We’re being played by the Democrats," Trump said on Sunday during his 11th Fox News interview of 2019. “I think what they want me to do is say, ‘Well, what we’ll do is raise taxes’ … and then they’ll have a news conference, see, Trump wants to raise taxes.”
Then on Wednesday, Trump abruptly ended a meeting with Democratic leaders on infrastructure, telling reporters Democrats would have to choose between “investigations” or “investment."
“Instead of walking in happily to a meeting, I walk in to look at people who said I was doing a cover-up,” Trump said. “You can’t do [infrastructure] under these circumstances.”
It’s worth nothing, however that the president has derailed more than half a dozen White House infrastructure initiatives in the past two years, which you can watch in the video above.
Let’s review the White House’s repeated attempts, and failures, to get “infrastructure week” off the ground:
1) Week of May 15, 2017
- What: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao promises $1 trillion infrastructure plan “in the next several weeks.”
- What derailed it: Hours later, The Washington Post reported that Trump shared highly classified intelligence with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.
2) Week of June 5, 2017
- What: The first official White House “infrastructure week” (which notably kicked off without a plan).
- What derailed it: Former FBI director James B. Comey accused Trump of lying in congressional testimony. The next day, Trump accused Comey of lying.
3) Week of Aug. 14, 2017
- What: Trump signed an executive order he said would streamline the infrastructure approval process.
- What derailed it: Trump spent much of a nearly 45-minute news conference meant to tout the order blaming “both sides” for violent protests in Charlottesville.
4) Week of Oct. 9, 2017
- What: Chao again touted Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan without providing the details of said plan.
- What derailed it: The Post reported that Chao repeatedly used taxpayer-funded private jets to fly to events when cheaper commercial flights were available.
5) Week of Feb. 12, 2018
- What: Trump announced a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, much of it funded by states and private investment.
- What derailed it: The resignation of a White House aide over domestic violence allegations, reports that Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen paid hush money during the 2016 campaign to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, the indictment of 13 Russians in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and a massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
6) Week of March 26, 2018
- What: Trump gave a speech in Ohio touting his infrastructure plan.
- What derailed it: As The Post’s Heather Long reported at the time: “This latest [infrastructure] week is happening while Congress is on recess, Trump faces high-profile allegations of marital infidelity, the Russia investigation continues to make headlines, and the administration grapples with staff turnover and contentious firings.”
7) Week of April 29, 2019
- What: Trump and congressional Democrats agreed to invest $2 trillion in infrastructure, even as Trump’s acting chief of staff and congressional Republicans cast doubt on it.
- What derailed it: Hours after Trump’s infrastructure meeting with Democrats, The Post reported that Mueller wrote a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr in March complaining that Barr’s letter describing Mueller’s principal conclusions “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s investigation. Senate Democrats hammered Barr about it during a hearing the next day.