Freshly returned from Walter Reed hospital, President Trump ordered a halt to ongoing negotiations over another Covid-19 relief package. Instead, he directed Republican Senators to focus exclusively on confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before Election Day.
“I have asked Mitch McConnell not to delay, but to instead focus full time on approving my outstanding nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett,” he said on Twitter. “Our Economy is doing very well. The Stock Market is at record levels, JOBS and unemployment…also coming back in record numbers. We are leading the World in Economic Recovery, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!”
Trump, who frequently lies, tweeted that he would pass a “major” economic stimulus bill immediately after the election, which he said he would win. Regardless of the election’s results, Democrats will still control the House after the election, as the current Congress will serve until January.
Here are his tweets calling off the negotiations:
…request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business. I have asked…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
…also coming back in record numbers. We are leading the World in Economic Recovery, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
Though Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) is not obligated to abide by Trump’s directive, he indicated to CNN’s Manu Raju that he plans to comply. “I do,” McConnell said when asked if he supports the president’s decision to shelve stimulus talks. “I think his view was that they were not going to produce a result and we need to concentrate on what’s achievable.”
Contrary to what the president says, the American economy is not doing “very well.” The headline unemployment rate is 7.9 percent, considerably higher than it was when Trump took office. There are 10.7 million fewer jobs in the workforce than when the Covid-19 pandemic began, and the recovery from the pandemic has slowed in recent months, with women among the hardest hit and more job losses becoming permanent. According to Labor Department statistics, nearly 3 million Americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, which qualifies as long-term joblessness.
In his own Twitter statement, Democratic 2020 nominee Joe Biden accused Trump of turning his back on working Americans, warning: “There will be no help from Washington for the forseeable future.”
The President turned his back on you. pic.twitter.com/oeI8dck2LL
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 6, 2020
Before Trump derailed their efforts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had yet to come to terms on a stimulus package, but they were reportedly making progress on a new economic relief deal and were scheduled to have a call to continue negotiations Tuesday afternoon. Economists have said that additional support for unemployed and underemployed Americans, as well as for small and large businesses, is critical to preventing the economy from entering into free-fall as Covid closures continue.
“Everything depends on Phase 4 [Covid-19 relief] and whether we get that or not,” Aneta Markowska, chief economist for the investment bank Jefferies, recently told the New York Times. “There’s no middle ground.”
Trump has apparently answered that question with a resounding “no.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted over 300 points in the minutes following Trump’s Twitter thread announcing the news. On Monday, the president bragged that the stock market was “UP BIG!”
The U.S. stock market's reaction to Trump cutting off stimulus talks with the Democrats until after the election… pic.twitter.com/4e1zXoFD0N
— Eric Martin (@EMPosts) October 6, 2020
Trump’s announcement flies in the face of nearly all the advice and guidance offered by economists, labor force experts, and his administration’s own top officials. Hours before Trump’s announcement, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the economy was not as robust as the president has been portraying it as the nation struggles to contend with the impact of the pandemic. The absence of a substantial stimulus package would “lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell told the National Association for Business Economics. “Over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy, and holding back wage growth.”
Speaker Pelosi released a statement shortly following Trump’s announcement. “Today, once again, President Trump showed his true colors,” she wrote, “putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP Members of Congress.”
“Clearly, the White House is in complete disarray,” she added. “Sadly, they are rejecting the urgent warnings of Fed Chairman Powell today.”
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