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Pelosi: Trump made 'terrible mistake' by cutting off coronavirus aid talks

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE on Wednesday for abruptly calling off negotiations over a package to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, calling the order a "terrible mistake."

A day before, Trump tweeted that he had instructed his aides to stop negotiating with Pelosi on coronavirus relief until after the election.

But then late Tuesday night — after stocks took a dive on the news of no deal until after the election — Trump reversed course and called on Congress to approve piecemeal measures like another round of stimulus checks, $25 billion for the airline industry and additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses.

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"It’s hard to see any clear sane path on what he’s doing, but the fact is he saw the political downside of his statement of walking away from the negotiations," Pelosi said on ABC's "The View." "He’s just again rebounding from a terrible mistake he made yesterday. And the Republicans in Congress are going down the drain with him on that."

Pelosi has held firm on passing an expansive coronavirus aid package rather than passing smaller, more targeted measures.

“It’s interesting that he said he’d send out those checks if we sent him that bill, because all he has ever wanted in the negotiation was to send out a check with his name on it. Forget about the virus, forget about our heroes, forget about our children and their need to go to school safely,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi had been scheduled to speak by phone with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Mnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor's reach The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE on Tuesday afternoon, but learned from Trump's tweets shortly beforehand that the negotiations had been called off.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke again Wednesday morning about aid for the airline industry, which has been hit hard by the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

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House Democrats tried to pass a standalone relief bill authored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioOn the Trail: Five House results illustrate a politically divided America OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord  Democrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade MORE (D-Ore.) on Friday by unanimous consent, but Republicans blocked it. 

“The secretary inquired about a standalone airlines bill. The speaker reminded him that Republicans blocked that bill on Friday & asked him to review the DeFazio bill so that they could have an informed conversation,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted.

Pelosi, when asked, dismissed the idea of picking up the phone to speak with Trump or going to the White House, where Trump is recovering after being hospitalized over the weekend with COVID-19, which several aides have also tested positive for.

"I don’t want to go anywhere near the White House. It’s one of the most dangerous places in the country," Pelosi said.

Pelosi and Trump have not had an extended, in-person conversation in almost a year. They last met at the White House on Oct. 16, 2019, about Syria policy, which subsequently melted down with Pelosi leaving the meeting and telling reporters at the Capitol afterward that "we have to pray for his health." 

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They were last in proximity to each other at the State of the Union address in early February, as well as the National Prayer Breakfast two days later.

Pelosi confirmed that she had suggested to House Democrats on a caucus call shortly after Trump called off the coronavirus aid talks Tuesday that she had questioned the effect of the medications he is taking for COVID-19 treatment. 

"Last time I had an interaction with the president was the State of the Union address and after that, you know, I tore up the speech and all. But after that, I said to my staff, I said I think he was medicated, there's something wrong with how he came on and presented," Pelosi said.

"I said yesterday to my colleagues, I said there are those who say that steroids have an impact on people's thinking. I don't know, but there are those health care providers who say that," she added.