Chuck Schumer: "Why won't you open the government and stop hurting people?"
Donald Trump: "Because then you won't give me what I want. 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 Pelosi: "Re-open the government. Let people get back to work and get their paychecks. Then we can talk about Border Security and a Wall."
Donald Trump: "I said, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Yes or no?"
Chuck Schumer: "Re-open the government. We'll talk, we'll negotiate, We'll do a deal. You'd like that, a deal?"
Donald Trump: "Yes or no?"
Nancy Pelosi: "Something for you, something for us?"
Donald Trump: "Yes or no?"
Chuck Schumer: "A DACA deal for us, some wall money for you?"
Donald Trump: "Not 'some wall money.' $5.7 billion. I want it all. I want it all. I want it all. And I want it now. Yes or no?"
Nancy Pelosi: "Re-open the government. Then we'll talk. We'll negotiate."
Donald Trump: "Negotiate?!" Slams table. "I'm asking you, would you do that if you were in my position? If you would do that you should never be in this position because you'd never get anything done. Bye-bye."
I did not give the above imagined scenario a happy ending or different outcome than that of the actual meeting which took place the day before yesterday because it's not within the realm of believability that there's anything Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi could have said - short of, "fine, we'll give you your wall money and you can go ahead and deport all the DACA kids, too" - that would have convinced Donald Trump to re-open the government.
It's just that that it would have been far more savvy and shrewd on Schumer and Pelosi's part and more beneficial to their purposes if they could have linked arms and stuck to one consistent response throughout the meeting: "Re-open the government then we'll negotiate."
That direct "No," on the other hand, sounded like a door slamming on the hopes of those whose lives have been disrupted by the shut down. It also gave fodder to feed the narrative of the Democrats being as intransigent as Donald Trump, even if that narrative isn't true.
Remember that last year Chuck Shumer with Republicans Mike Rounds and Susan Collins laid before Donald Trump a bipartisan compromise immigration bill that would have funded the wall and reinstated DACA . But Donald Trump rejected that bill even though it would have given him his wall money because what Donald Trump really wanted from that bill, what he wants now from a federal budget, what he always wants, first and foremost, more than a wall, more than a functioning country, more than the security and well-being of Americans, is one thing and one thing only: to win.
And in Donald Trump's universe, unfortunately, a productive compromise isn't a win.