President Donald Trump called off negotiations on another all-encompassing coronavirus relief package on Tuesday before suggesting hours later that Congress should pursue more narrowly targeted, single-issue bills on the issue. And like clockwork, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pounced.
According to Fox News, the House speaker suggested Wednesday that Trump’s thoughts may have been clouded by a steroid that he used to treat his recent COVID-19 infection. But in a humiliating rebuke later that day, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said it isn’t the medicine, but Pelosi herself, who should take the blame for Trump’s move to halt relief talks.
“Anybody who’s negotiated with Nancy Pelosi more than a month will realize that cutting off the deal has nothing to do with steroids,” Meadows told Special Report anchor Bret Baier on Wednesday, according to Fox.
He went on: “It has more to do with the person that looks in the mirror when she gets up in the morning.”
Blame the steroids
USA Today reported Tuesday that Pelosi had raised the issue of the steroid during a conference call with other House Democrats. The news came after Trump said talks on a broader package would cease, though he later said he’d be open to addressing more narrow agenda items like providing funding for airlines and small businesses and another stimulus check for struggling Americans, as The Hill reported.
“Believe me, there are people…who think that steroids have an impact on your thinking. So, I don’t know,” Pelosi reportedly said on the call.
She added jokingly, “I do practice medicine on the side without benefit of a diploma, as a mother and a grandmother, but I hadn’t gone into mental health yet.”
It was a message Pelosi reiterated during an appearance Wednesday on ABC’s The View. There, according to the New York Post, the House speaker accused the president of having been “medicated” at the State of the Union address in February before remarking: “I said yesterday to my colleagues, I said there are those who say that steroids had an impact on people’s thinking, I don’t know, but there are those health care providers who say that.”
She added: “Also, if you have the coronavirus, it has an impact, as well. So the combination is something that should be viewed.”
Meadows, for his part, wasn’t buying it. He told Baier Wednesday that Pelosi doesn’t want to make a deal, lest she give the president a win with just weeks until November’s election.
“She would rather have zero than that kind of number,” he said, referencing Republicans’ offer of a $1.7 trillion relief package, according to Fox. Pelosi has been stumping for a package with a $2.4 trillion price tag.
After weeks without a deal, Trump and the GOP seem to have had enough of trying to reach common ground, opting instead for a piecemeal approach. But according to Meadows, “if [Pelosi] thinks that she can come back with something that is closer to where [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin has come up to, I am sure the president is more than willing to look at a counter-proposal.” Only time will tell.