Pelosi asked if steroids influenced Trump’s decision on coronavirus relief

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a call with Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday floated the question of whether the steroids President Trump is taking to treat his case of the coronavirus led to his decision to endorse parts of a coronavirus stimulus deal just hours after telling his negotiators to walk away from talks. 

“Believe me, there are people … who think that steroids have an impact on your thinking. So, I don’t know,” Pelosi said on a call with Democrats after Trump’s Tuesday night tweets, according to two sources.

“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,” she said on the call. 

Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Monday after a four-day stint there to receive treatment for the coronavirus, which he announced Friday he had contracted.

He is receiving a cocktail of therapeutics, including the steroid dexamethasone, which has shown to increase the survival rates of severely ill COVID-19 patients who require a ventilator or supplemental oxygen and can also cause mood swings.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding Pelosi’s remarks.

Trump on Tuesday night abruptly said he would support legislation for stimulus checks, help for the airline industry and small business loans just hours after he cut off talks on a broader coronavirus stimulus bill. 

“The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business. Both of these will be fully paid for with unused funds from the Cares Act. Have this money. I will sign now!” Trump tweeted Tuesday, referring to the coronavirus stimulus package passed in March.

“If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” he added in a follow-up tweet, referring to Pelosi and also tagging White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The three provisions touted by Trump had been among the measures being negotiated for a final relief package.

Just hours earlier, Trump announced he had instructed his top aides to stop negotiating with Pelosi on a stimulus deal, accusing Democrats of “not negotiating in good faith.”

It was not immediately clear what fueled the reversal, but the walk-back came after stocks nosedived in response to the canceled negotiations and grumbling from airlines that had lobbied hard for billions of dollars in relief.

Pelosi had primarily been negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. While both had expressed confidence in recent days that progress was being made after talks were revived following a lengthy hiatus, they still remained billions of dollars apart on a final package, with Pelosi pushing for $2.2 trillion in relief and the GOP appearing reticent to go above $1.6 trillion.

The president has made the country’s economic recovery from its coronavirus-fueled recession a centerpiece of his reelection campaign, noting strong economic growth before the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.

The country has successfully regained millions of jobs, but the recovery appears to have slowed. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent and 661,000 jobs were added in September, though economists had projected the economy would add 800,000 jobs last month.

— Scott Wong contributed to this report.

Tags CARES Act Chuck Schumer Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy Mark Meadows Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Steven Mnuchin U.S. federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic

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