President Trump had an agenda with his candy, but the sugary goodies didn’t bring the sweet results he desired.
Before an ill-fated White House meeting on Wednesday, the President treated Congressional leaders to an assortment of treats in what was likely a strategic move masquerading as a sweet gesture, according to business etiquette expert Maryanne Parker.
Trump reportedly dished out a mix of Butterfingers, M&Ms and Baby Ruths before again requesting $5.7 billion for his long-sought wall between Mexico and the United States. But his negotiations with Democratic leadership quickly soured when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuffed his latest request, leaving little hope for a timely end to the government shutdown, which is now well into its third week.
Parker noted that while dishing out sugary treats during a work meeting isn’t at all unusual or inappropriate, it’s not “exactly typical for such a high-profile gathering.” That’s why she thinks it’s likely that Trump’s treats were more about getting his way, and less about a morale boost for participating lawmakers.
“It’s a sort of strategic move to ease the room. You see that he’s dealing with Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, it makes sense that he would want to create a better environment, a more gentle environment,” said Parker, who is also the author of “The Sharpest Soft Skill: 10 Proven Etiquette Strategies for Business Success.”
She added that it’s an example of “good business intelligence” – but so is keeping your emotions in check during a professional gathering.
Following the situation room sit-down, which lasted no longer than a half hour, Sen. Chuck Schumer told reporters gathered on the White House lawn that Trump “sort of slammed the table” and walked out of the room.
“We saw a temper tantrum,” he said.
The President’s allegedly dramatic exit stands in stark contrast with his decision to give out treats at the start of the meeting, a move Parker described as “gentle” and “soft.”
“I think it was very cautious actually – there’s nothing aggressive about giving away candy, so it’s all a little contradictive in tone,” she said.
“You really have to be in control of your emotions and you also have to be aware that not everyone is going to be on board with everything you discuss.”
Trump in a tweet Thursday denied losing his temper during shutdown negotiations and continued his call for a wall on the border.
“Cryin Chuck told his favorite lie when used his standard sound bit that I ‘slammed the table & walked out of the room. He had a temper tantrum,’” he wrote.
“Because I knew he would say that, and after Nancy said no to proper Border security, I politely said by-bye and left, no slamming!” the president wrote.
Vice President Mike Pence backed up Trump’s version of events and praised him for his commitment to border security.