Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill’s signing
President Trump on Friday declined to invite Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats to the White House ceremony where he signed the historic $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package passed earlier in the day by the House, aides said.
Friday’s snub marked just the latest twist in a long-running feud between the Republican president and the Democratic Speaker of the House.
In fact, aides said, Trump and Pelosi have not spoken to each other since Oct. 16, when she and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) walked out of a heated meeting with Trump after he reportedly insulted her as a “third-rate politician.”
That means the nation’s two most powerful leaders have not been communicating directly during one of the greatest public health and economic crises in modern history. Instead, Trump empowered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other top administration officials to negotiate with Pelosi and Schumer on the last two coronavirus packages — and any subsequent ones that might be needed.
A White House official confirmed to The Hill that no Democrats were invited to the bill-signing event. But in the Oval Office ceremony, Trump — flanked by top Cabinet members, aides and GOP lawmakers — heaped praise on bipartisan negotiators.
“I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first,” Trump told reporters.
The Senate passed the mammoth coronavirus package on Wednesday on a 96-0 vote. The House followed suit on Friday, clearing the measure on a voice vote.
No Democrats attended the signing ceremony. Among the lawmakers in the room were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as well as the GOP leaders of three key House committees: Texas Rep. Kevin Brady of Ways and Means, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden of Energy and Commerce, and Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot of Small Business.
“It’s a proud moment for all of us,” McConnell said at the ceremony.
Trump and Pelosi’s already chilly relationship took a turn for the worse in September, when Pelosi signed off on an impeachment investigation into the president after he pressured Ukraine to announce investigations that could have benefited him politically. The House voted to impeach Trump, but the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted him.
The pair last saw each other more than a month ago, on Feb. 4, when Trump traveled to the Capitol to deliver his State of the Union address on the House floor. Pelosi reached out to shake his hand before the speech, but Trump appeared to snub her offer.
The fireworks happened later. As Trump wrapped up his speech, Pelosi — in plain view of the lawmakers and guests in the chamber, as well as the TV audience watching at home — stood and ripped a copy of his speech into pieces.
“I have never seen a relationship between a sitting Speaker and a president this bad,” Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) told The Hill that week.
Morgan Chalfant contributed.
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