Hours after demanding the cancellation of further negotiation on a wholesale coronavirus relief package until after the election, President Donald Trump signaled support for a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks to be paid to the American people.
In a tweet sent late Tuesday night, the president vouched for the independent measure, saying, “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 taunted, before tagging Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other congressional leadership.
Wednesday morning, Trump doubled down on the move, tweeting “Move Fast, I Am Waiting To Sign! @Speaker Pelosi.”
In addition to the stimulus checks, the president also signaled support for another independent measure, tweeting he would immediately sign a bill to distribute $135 billion to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and another $25 billion to airline companies for payroll support.
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump appeared to scrap plans for a comprehensive coronavirus relief bill by announcing he instructed administration officials to discontinue talks with Democrats on the matter. He also asked the Senate to “focus full time” on confirming his nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court.
The president blamed Pelosi for the end to negotiations, arguing she continuously requested too much money and was “not negotiating in good faith.”
“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19,” he tweeted. “We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith.”
In response to the tweets, Pelosi put out a statement blasting the president and saying he was once again showing “his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country.”
“Walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates that President Trump is unwilling to crush the virus,” she added.
But the move by Trump may have been a negotiating tactic. By removing comprehensive relief from the negotiating table but insisting upon stimulus checks, Trump may have forced Pelosi and the Democrats to give the president a victory before the election. Or, if she rejects the offer, it could backfire.