Pelosi defends not speaking to Trump for almost a year

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday defended not speaking directly to President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE for almost a year amid the current coronavirus pandemic and wildfire crises, maintaining that she finds it "in the interest of time" to speak to intermediaries.

The president and the Speaker haven't had an extended, face-to-face conversation since Oct. 16, 2019, during a meeting at the White House about Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.

Trump and Pelosi haven't even been in the same room together since February at the National Prayer Breakfast. That came two days after Trump's State of the Union address, where he appeared to ignore Pelosi's attempt at a handshake and she ripped up a copy of his speech afterward.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pelosi confirmed during an interview with MSNBC's Craig Melvin that she hasn't spoken to Trump about the wildfires ravaging her home state of California and other parts of the West. Any recent discussions about a coronavirus relief package — which have been stalled for more than a month — have also only been between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE or White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsWashington Post calls on Democrats to subpoena Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Meadows for testimony on Jan. 6 Trump to Pence on Jan. 6: 'You don't have the courage' Trump said whoever leaked information about stay in White House bunker should be 'executed,' author claims MORE, not Trump.

"Well, I've spoken to his representatives and he says that they speak for him. And I take that to be true about the secretary of the Treasury and we have worked together," Pelosi said, noting her deals with Mnuchin on past coronavirus aid measures and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact last year.

Pelosi said that she's repeatedly found Trump to be unreliable, saying that "I don't find it a good use of time."

"Quite frankly, my experience with the president has been that it hasn't been on the level. You know, he'll say something and then it doesn't really happen. So in the interest of time, we'll work with who he sends over," Pelosi said.

Trump said last week that he's taking "the high road" by not meeting with Pelosi or Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy Pelosi, Schumer vow climate action: 'It is an imperative' MORE (D-N.Y.) over coronavirus relief.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I know Pelosi, I know Schumer very well. They don't want to make a deal because they think it's good for politics if they don't make a deal," Trump said. "I'm taking the high road by not seeing them. That's the high road."

The weekly $600 enhanced unemployment insurance benefits established by a coronavirus aid package in March expired at the end of July, but a bipartisan deal remains out of sight. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion relief package in May, while Senate Republicans were unable to overcome a Democratic filibuster against a $500 billion package last week.

In-person meetings between Trump and Pelosi have tended to turn into disasters.

Pelosi walked out of the October 2019 meeting with Trump, where the two sides couldn't agree whether the president had called the Speaker a "third-rate" or "third grade" politician. Pelosi told Trump that "all roads with you lead to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," while Trump said that "I hate ISIS more than you do."

Pelosi told reporters afterward that "we have to pray" for Trump's health.

Five months before that, Trump walked out of a meeting with Pelosi and other Democrats on infrastructure legislation after she had said hours earlier that he was engaging in a "cover-up."

When they were last in the same room together in February, Trump took veiled shots at Pelosi during the traditionally nonpartisan National Prayer Breakfast as she sat five seats away.

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that’s not so,” Trump said.

Their relations have only worsened since then. In May, Pelosi described Trump as "morbidly obese" while criticizing his decision to take an unproven coronavirus treatment.

Trump responded by saying that Pelosi is a "waste of time," later adding that he thought she was a "sick woman" with "a lot of mental problems."

Pelosi, meanwhile, claimed later that “I didn’t know that he would be so sensitive.”