Trump reportedly wanted to show off his negotiation skills by inviting the Taliban to Camp David

  • A proposed meeting between President Donald Trump, the Taliban, and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David was axed partly due to disagreements over the political showmanship, a new report says.
  • According to The New York Times, the idea of a meeting on US soil was subject to an argument between Trump and his National Security Council as to whether it should come before or after any concrete progress was made towards peace.
  • Trump wanted to go sooner, The Times reported, so that the optics of making a deal could be part of the negotiation.

A meeting between President Donald Trump, leaders of the Taliban, and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential retreat in Camp David was called off due to disagreements over political showmanship, a new report claims.

According to a New York Times article published Sunday, a potential peace agreement was ironed out on September 1 by  US special representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, which ended in the suggestion of a visit to the US.

The idea for the Taliban's trip to the presidential resort was reportedly embraced by Trump, but some National Security Council officials were not privy to the fluid developments, The Times reported.

A point of contention ensued when the Taliban leaders accepted the proposal, but insisted the trip be held after a peace deal was announced.

Trump, however, believed the Taliban's trip should be held before then, and wanted for it to be a part of the peace process, according to The Times.

Trump, who dispensed with decades of political norms when he abruptly met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone in the Korean Peninsula, reportedly wanted to be perceived as the chief negotiator of peace with the terrorist group.

Read more: Trump says he invited Taliban leaders to Camp David for a secret meeting, but canceled because of a recent attack that killed a US soldier

us army best photos 2012, soldier patrolling in Kunar Province, AfghanistanU.S. Army / Sgt. Trey Harvey

Trump intended to hold separate meetings with President Ghani and the Taliban at Camp David, after which the US president would have the prime opportunity to showcase the new relationship, according to The Times.

Other issues were raised in the days leading up to the Taliban's trip. Afghan officials reportedly said they objected to releasing thousands of Taliban prisoners, which the US had agreed to.

On Thursday, the potential trip was nixed after Trump was informed of a suicide car bomb in Afghanistan which killed US Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz Ortiz, as well as a Romanian soldier and at least 10 civilians. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Trump and his aides came to an agreement that the Camp David trip — which would have been held three days before the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — could not be conducted after the car bomb attack, The Times said.

"This is off; we can't do this," Trump said to officials, according to the article.

Afghan officials reportedly seemed unaware of the change because the White House did not make a formal announcement.

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Afghanistan, September 2019
Resolute Support (RS) forces guard at the site of a car bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The Afghan government says at least 10 civilians are dead and another 42 wounded after a Taliban suicide car bombing rocked the Afghan capital near a neighborhood housing the U.S. Embassy and the NATO Resolute Support mission. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Afghans travel in convoy with cars decorated with black flags and portraits of late Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud marking the 18th anniversary of his death, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Afghans are bracing for a possible new wave of Taliban violence after President Donald Trump abruptly called off talks with the insurgent group, which vows to continue its fight against what it calls "foreign occupation." (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Bird sellers wait for customers at a market in the Old City of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Afghan Presidential Spokesman Seddqi spoke to reporters hours after Trump in a series of tweets announced that he had canceled a secret meeting set for Sunday at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan leaders. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Afghan Presidential Spokesman Sediq Seddqi gives a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Seddqi spoke to reporters hours after U.S. President Donald Trump in a series of tweets announced that he had canceled a secret meeting set for Sunday at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan leaders. Seddqi said it doesn't believe talks between the United States and Taliban will continue "at this stage" after Trump abruptly called them off. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
ADDS DATE - Smoke rises as angry Kabul residents set fire to part of the Green Village compound that has been attacked frequently, a day after a Taliban suicide attack in Kabul, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. An interior ministry spokesman said some hundreds of foreigners were rescued after the attack targeted the compound, which houses several international organizations and guesthouses. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Smoke rises as angry Kabul residents set fire to part of the Green Village compound that has been attacked frequently, a day after a Taliban suicide attack. An interior ministry spokesman said some hundreds of foreigners were rescued after the attack targeted the compound, which houses several international organizations and guesthouses. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Wounded men receive treatment in a hospital after a large explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a large explosion in the Afghan capital Monday night, which government officials said targeted an area home to several international organizations and guesthouses. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Wounded men receive treatment in a hospital after a large explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a large explosion in the Afghan capital Monday night, which government officials said targeted an area home to several international organizations and guesthouses. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Afghan security personnel arrives at the site of large explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a large explosion in the Afghan capital Monday night, which government officials said targeted an area home to several international organizations and guesthouses. (AP Photo/Nishanuddin Khan)
Wounded men receive treatment in a hospital after a large explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a large explosion in the Afghan capital Monday night, which government officials said targeted an area home to several international organizations and guesthouses. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Wounded men receive treatment in a hospital, after a large explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a large explosion in the Afghan capital Monday night, which government officials said targeted an area home to several international organizations and guesthouses. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Men bury Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, the spokesperson of the Kunduz Police headquarters, who was killed in a suicide attack on Saturday, in Kunduz province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. The Taliban attacked a second Afghan city in as many days on Sunday and killed several members of security forces, officials said, even as Washington's peace envoy said the U.S. and the militant group are "at the threshold of an agreement" to end America's longest war. (AP Photo/Bashir Khan Safi)
Afghan security forces arrive during a fight against Taliban fighters in Kunduz province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The Taliban have launched a new large-scale attack on one of Afghanistan's main cities, Kunduz, and taken hospital patients as hostages, the government said Saturday, even as the insurgent group continued negotiations with the United States on ending America's longest war. (AP Photo/Bashir Khan Safi)
A wounded man receives treatment in a hospital, after a large explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a large explosion in the Afghan capital Monday night, which government officials said targeted an area home to several international organizations and guesthouses. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Afghan children look out from a broken window at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Angry Afghan protesters burn tires and shout slogans at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
Afghan security personnel fires towards Taliban positions on the street in Kunduz, Afghanistan August 31, 2019 in this still image taken from a video obtained by REUTERS. Afghan Interior Ministry/ReutersTV via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Sediq Sediqqi, spokesperson for the President of Afghanistan gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Kabul on September 8, 2019. - US President Donald Trump's announcement that he had called off negotiations with the Taliban, apparently ending a year-long diplomatic push to exit America's longest war, has left the withdrawal deal shrouded in uncertainty. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A wounded man is brought by ambulance to the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital following a suicide attack in Kabul on September 5, 2019. - The Taliban killed at least five people in a fresh bombing in Kabul on September 5 in yet another horrific attack on the Afghan capital as the US and the insurgents negotiate a deal to see American troops leave the country. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A wounded man receives treatment at the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital following a suicide attack in Kabul on September 5, 2019. - The Taliban killed at least five people in a fresh bombing in Kabul on September 5 in yet another horrific attack on the Afghan capital as the US and the insurgents negotiate a deal to see American troops leave the country. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan firefighters work at a parking lot near the site where a tractor packed with explosives exploded the night before at the Green Village in Kabul on September 3, 2019. - A massive blast in a residential area of Kabul killed at least 16 people, officials said September 3, following yet another Taliban attack that came as the insurgents and Washington try to finalise a withdrawal deal. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A US military helicopter flies near the site of a massive explosion the night before near the Green Village in Kabul on September 3, 2019. - A massive blast in a residential area of Kabul killed at least 16 people, officials said on September 3, yet another Taliban attack that came as the insurgents and Washington try to finalise a peace deal. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Smoke rises from the site of an attack after a massive explosion the night before near the Green Village in Kabul on September 3, 2019. - A massive blast in a residential area of Kabul killed at least 16 people, officials said on September 3, yet another Taliban attack that came as the insurgents and Washington try to finalise a peace deal. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump would later announce the cancellation of the trip on his Twitter account: "Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, [the Taliban] admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people."

"I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations," Trump added. "What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?"

News of the potential trip, which was first revealed through Trump's tweet, was widely condemned by lawmakers. Democrats and Republicans in Congress denounced the plan, particularly in light of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

"As we head into the anniversary of 9/11, I do not ever want to see those terrorists step foot in United States soil. Period," Republican Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, a former US Army special forces soldier, said on Sunday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on several television networks on Sunday to defend the plan and explain the rationale for the criticized trip.

"In the end, if you're going to negotiate peace, you often have to deal with some pretty bad actors," Pompeo said on ABC News's "This Week."

"And I know the history, too, at Camp David. Indeed, President Trump reflected on that, we all considered as we were debating how to try and get to the right ultimate outcome."

"It was a place where we thought we could convince all the leaders of Afghanistan, President Ghani and his team, as well as the Taliban, we could convince them to begin to head in the direction that would create better conditions," Pompeo added. "It's why the president was willing to go down that direction."

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