Fresh out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and “FEELING GREAT,” per his tweets, Trump said he was instructing his representatives to halt negotiations with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The announcement was starkly different than South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s earlier statement Tuesday that Trump was “focused” on getting a package passed.
Instead, Trump said, he will focus exclusively on confirming Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative, to the Supreme Court to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.
Nancy Pelosi said that Trump’s announcement “showed his true colors,” decrying the end to negotiations.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Said He Will Immediately Stop Negotiating a Stimulus Package with Congressional Democrats & ‘After I Win the Election’ Pass a Stimulus Bill
Trump’s abrupt announcement appeared to put an end to any economic relief from the federal government for the millions of Americans out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he placed the blame squarely at Democrats’ doors:
Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 trillion to bail out poorly run, high-crime, [Democratic] states, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 trillion and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith.
I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major stimulus bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and small business.
I have asked Mitch McConnell not to delay, but to instead focus full time on approving my outstanding nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Our economy is doing very well. The stock market is at record levels, jobs and unemployment also coming back in record numbers. We are leading the world in economic recovery, and the best is yet to come.
Pelosi Immediately Decried the End to Talks in a Statement, Accusing Trump of ‘Putting Himself First at the Expense of the Country’
Pelosi immediately blasted Trump’s decision to end negotiations, evoking the words of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who warned earlier that there was little risk to federal action now, while the risks of inaction were great for people across the country:
Today, once again, Trump showed his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP members of Congress.
Walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates that Trump is unwilling to crush the virus, as is required by the Heroes Act. He shows his contempt for science, his disdain for our heroes — in health care, first responders, sanitation, transportation, \food workers, teachers, teachers, teachers and others — and he refuses to put money in workers’ pockets unless his name is printed on the check.
At the same time, the president is abandoning meeting the needs of our children as they adjust to learning in-person, virtual or hybrid. Instead, Trump is wedded to his $250 billion tax cut for the wealthiest people in America from the CARES Act, while he refuses to give real help to poor children, the unemployed and America’s hardworking families.
Clearly the White House is in complete disarray. Sadly, they are rejecting the urgent warnings of Fed Chairman Powell today.
Powell, earlier on Tuesday, told the National Association for Business Economics that Congress should pass a “robust” stimulus package immediately or risk a rash of bankruptcies and insolvencies, USA Today reported.
“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell told the conference. “Over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy and holding back wage growth. By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller. Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste.”
The Speaker Also Questioned Whether the Powerful Steroids Trump Is Taking Could Be Affecting His Thinking
CNN Congressional reporter Manu Raju said that during a call with other Congressional Democrats, Pelosi raised the specter of the strong medications, including the steroid dexamethasone, that Trump is on.
“Speaker Pelosi questioned whether Trump taking a steroid was impacting his thinking, according to two people on the call,” Raju said.
A Monday morning Twitter spree by Trump, in which he blasted out more than 15 all-caps posts, including “SPACE FORCE. VOTE,” also had many questioning whether his medication regimen could be affecting him.
Politico reporter Heather Caygle also quoted Pelosi as saying, “Believe me, there are people who think that steroids have an impact on thinking … so I don’t know.”
The Announcement Came Just After Lindsey Graham Said Trump Was ‘Focused’ on Getting a Stimulus Deal Through
Earlier on Tuesday, Lindsey Graham said via Twitter that Trump was “focused on a good deal” to stimulate the economy — which many Americans hoped would take the form of a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
Trump also on October 3, while being treated for coronavirus at Walter Reed, urged Democrats and Republicans to “work together and get it done,” signaling that a package at least appeared to be a priority for him.
The about-face on stimulus talks appeared to come out of nowhere, with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both expressing optimism as recently as October 2 that a deal could be imminent, The New York Times reported.