President Trump said Tuesday that he has instructed his top aides to stop negotiating with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on future coronavirus stimulus legislation until after the November election.
Trump, who is himself currently being treated for COVID-19, accused Pelosi in a series of tweets of “not negotiating in good faith” and seeking “bailouts” for states he says are poorly run by Democratic officials.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
The message marks a sharp reversal for the president, who just three days ago had urged leaders of both parties to come together to finalize an agreement that can hit his desk before the Nov. 3 elections.
“OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE,” Trump tweeted on Saturday afternoon, a day after he’d checked into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
In killing the talks, Trump seems to be betting that his best chance at reelection is not in getting new emergency funding out the door before Nov. 3, but instead dangling the promise of more aid after voters go to the polls — particularly if he wins.
The president singled out one area of the talks where the sides have remained far apart for weeks: help for state and local governments. Pelosi is seeking more than $430 billion for those localities, while Republicans have rejected that figure, wary that Democrats want to rescue blue states facing budget crunches as the result of policy decisions made before the pandemic arrived.
“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19,” Trump tweeted. “We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith.”
The strategy is a risky one. Millions of Americans remain out of work; thousands of businesses are on the brink of collapse; and American consumers have been wary of returning to restaurants, theaters and public transit, even in regions where they’ve reopened. Stocks immediately plunged after Trump announced he would call off the negotiations until after the election, which is now four weeks away.
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