As Congressional legislators scramble to pass another stimulus package before the upcoming election, President Donald Trump is “focused” on getting the deal done, despite his recent COVID-19 diagnosis, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.
On Monday, the president spoke with the senator over the phone about stimulus talks and the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Graham indicated on Twitter, writing:
“Just spoke with President @realDonaldTrump and he sounds terrific — very engaged and ready to get back to work!” he tweeted on October 5. Graham added that Trump is “also very excited about Judge Amy Coney Barrett being confirmed to the Supreme Court and focused on a good deal to help stimulate the economy.”
Trump had been receiving medical care at the Walter Reed medical center in Maryland after he tested positive for the coronavirus on October 1. He returned to the White House around 7 p.m. on October 5, according to CBS News.
Graham is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is slated to begin holding hearings for Barrett next week.
Here’s what you need to know:
While Many Were Concerned Over Trump’s Diagnosis & how it Could Impact Stimulus Talks, he has Been Vocal About Passing a Bill ASAP
Talks for a second stimulus package on Capitol Hill appeared to have been making strides for the first time in months last week, but Trump’s recent positive diagnosis left many wondering how that could implicate the proceedings moving forward.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently voiced refreshingly optimistic outlooks on reaching a deal soon, The New York Times reported.
“I’m trying to figure out here whether I should predict another bill quickly or not,” said McConnell at a Kentucky event on October 2, according to NYT. “But the talks have speeded up in the last couple of days. I think we’re closer to getting an outcome.”
On October 3, Trump urged from the Walter Reed medical center — where he was receiving doses of the steroid drug, Dexamethasone — legislators to ‘get it done’ in reference to passing another package, tweeting:
“OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!”
Later that night, Trump said in a video that he is feeling “much better” and should “be back soon,” despite earlier conflicting and concerning reports from aides and doctors, according to The Washington Post.
Pelosi and Mnuchin are expected to continue talks on October 6. The Treasury secretary offered last week a counterproposal of $1.6 trillion to House Democrats’ updated $2.2 trillion HEREOS Act, but neither have appeared to move forward.
A Handful of Trump Officials Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus
After the president announced via twitter on October 1 that he and FLOTUS tested positive for COVID-19, a handful of officials close to him have since followed. Trump’s diagnosis came after one of his top aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive following their September 29 trip onboard Air Force One heading to the debate in Cleveland, according to The Hill.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is among the latest of those close to the president to announce a positive diagnosis. She tweeted on Monday that she is asymptomatic and quarantining.
Her deputies, Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt, are also positive, CNBC reported.
Other officials include Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor, Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Kellyanne Conway, former White House adviser and Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, Insider said.