US President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have traded bitter insults after the latter stormed out of a White House meeting.
Mr Trump called Ms Pelosi a “third-grade” politician during the meeting, after which she told reporters he was having a meltdown.
The pair met at the White House, along with other senior Democrats, to discuss Syria, after the House had voted overwhelmingly (354-60) to oppose the president’s decision to withdraw US troops.
The meeting ended with Ms Pelosi walking out, saying the president didn’t understand the situation.
Ms Pelosi’s meeting with Mr Trump came against the backdrop of the impeachment inquiry. She is not just the leader of the opposing Democrat Party but the speaker who could determine the president’s future.
Mr Trump’s decision has opened the door for a Turkish military attack on Syrian Kurds who have been aligned with the US in fighting the country’s long-running war.
According to a Democrat who knew about the meeting, Mr Trump began by talking about the “nasty” letter he sent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Senator Chuck Schumer read the president a quote from former defence secretary James Mattis on keeping troops in Syria, but the president interrupted him, saying Mr Mattis was “the world’s most overrated general”.
“He wasn’t tough enough,” Mr Trump added. “I captured ISIS.”
A Democratic aide, speaking anonymously to Associated Press, said Ms Pelosi tried to explain that Russia wants “a foothold in the Middle East” and had one thanks to US withdrawal.
Ms Pelosi told the president: “All roads with you lead to Putin.”
Mr Trump is understood to have retorted: “I hate Isis more than you do.”
Ms Pelosi told the president: “You don’t know that.”
When the president told the speaker his plan was to “keep the American people safe”, the speaker said “that’s not a plan, that’s a goal”.
Mr Trump complained to Ms Pelosi about former president Barack Obama’s red lines over Syria and according to Mr Schumer, then called her a “third-rate politician”.
At that point, the meeting was interrupted by Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House majority leader, who said: “This is not useful.”
Mr Hoyer and Ms Pelosi left the meeting, with Mr Trump saying: “Goodbye, we’ll see you at the polls.”
Outside, Ms Pelosi told reporters the president was having a “meltdown” and that they left because he did not grasp the reality of the situation.
She also insisted he called her a “third-grade” politician instead of “third-rate” politician.
Ms Pelosi said they did not discuss the impeachment inquiry.
Mr Trump later said it was the speaker who had a “total meltdown”, called her a “very sick woman”.
He tweeted several pictures from the meeting including one of Mr Schumer and Ms Pelosi looking somewhat worn and tired, and wrote: “Do you think they like me?”
In another image, of Ms Pelosi standing up and pointing her finger at the president, he captioned “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown”.
The speaker responded by using the picture as her banner on Twitter.