Act One was the dinner itself, a meal of honey sesame crispy beef, sticky rice and chocolate cream pie for dessert, with Schumer and Pelosi flanking Trump on both sides. Schumer — who is known on the Hill for his takeout orders from Hunan Dynasty during long nights at the Capitol — had discussed his love of Chinese food with the president in previous conversations, and the meal also represented their shared hard-line view on trade with China.

At one point, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asked, “What exactly does the president get out of this deal?” As Pelosi, the only woman at the table of 11, tried to make her point — that the president gets the cooperation of the Democrats, which he will likely need on a host of issues — the men in the room began talking over her and one another.

“Do the women get to talk around here?” Pelosi interjected, according to two people familiar with the exchange.

There was, at last, silence, and she was not interrupted again.