WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has called an abrupt end to negotiations with Democrats over additional COVID-19 relief, delaying action until after the election despite ominous warnings from his own Federal Reserve chairman about the deteriorating conditions in the economy.
Trump tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith” and that he asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to direct all his focus before the election into confirming his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
The unexpected turn could be a blow to Trump’s reelection prospects and comes as his administration and campaign are in turmoil. Trump is quarantining in the White House with a case of COVID-19, and the latest batch of opinion polls shows him significantly behind former Vice President Joe Biden with the election four weeks away.
The collapse also means that Trump and down-ballot Republicans will face reelection without delivering aid to voters – such as a pre-election batch of $1,200 direct payments – even as the national jobless rate is about 8% with millions facing the threat of eviction.
Trump’s move came immediately after he spoke with the top GOP leaders in Congress, who had been watching talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi. Many Senate Republicans had signaled they would not be willing to go along with any stimulus legislation that topped $1 trillion, and GOP aides had been privately dismissive of the prospects for a deal.