Trump called the negotiators three times on Thursday night while they were in Pelosi’s office. But he only spoke with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, according to Meadows.
The calls underscored the rock-bottom relationship between the top leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties who are tasked with solving the health and economic crises.
The feelings appear mutual.
During a time of crisis, leaders usually put aside their differences. That has not happened. The two haven’t spoken even as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States surpasses 5 million, a quarter of the world’s total cases.
Congress is now moving to pass the fifth in a series of emergency measures. One crucial provision — an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits — expired on July 31 and another — the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped keep millions of small businesses afloat — expired on August 8.
On Monday, Mnuchin and Trump took divergent tactics to bring the Democrats back to negotiate.
The Treasury secretary said on CNBC that the administration is “prepared to put more money on the table,” expressing a willingness to spend above $1 trillion overall, particularly more on food assistance than it initially offered.
“I listened to the speaker over the weekend,” said Mnuchin. “She’s right. We started low on food. We realize there’s a lot of kids out there.”
They will “go down the list” on other issues, he added.
On Monday, Trump mocked Pelosi and Schumer and said in a tweet: “They know my phone number!”