President Trump said Monday that he isn’t negotiating directly with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on another coronavirus relief bill because “they don’t want to make a deal.”
“I know who I’m dealing with,” Mr. Trump said at a White House press conference. “I know Pelosi, I know Schumer very well. I don’t need to meet with them to be turned down.”
Top administration officials have been talking with the Democrats about a new round of relief for unemployed workers, schools and health care personnel. The two sides are believed to be about $700 billion apart, with Democrats seeking at least $2 trillion in aid and Republicans offering about $1.3 trillion.
The president said inviting the Democratic leaders to the White House for talks would only result in them lying to reporters later about what he said in negotiations. He said Democrats are holding up a deal to hurt his reelection prospects.
“They think if the country does as badly as possible, even though a lot of people are being hurt, that’s good for the Democrats,” he said.
The president pointed to the August unemployment report, which showed employers adding about 1.4 million jobs and the unemployment rate plummeting to 8.4%, as proof of “the fastest economic recovery in U.S. history.”
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin has said publicly that he and Mrs. Pelosi have agreed that the impasse won’t result in a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.