Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden marks anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, knocks Trump and McConnell Sunday shows – Trump team defends coronavirus response GOP chair defends Trump messaging on masks: ‘To say that he should have known then what we know now isn’t really fair’ MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday defended not speaking directly to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCrowd aims ‘lock him up’ chant at Obama during Trump rally Nevada governor: Trump ‘taking reckless and selfish actions’ in holding rally Michigan lieutenant governor blasts Trump coronavirus response: He ‘is a liar who has killed people’ 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.
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 Terner MnuchinBattle over timing complicates Democratic shutdown strategy Overnight Health Care: McConnell: Chance for coronavirus deal ‘doesn’t look that good right now’ | Fauci disagrees with Trump that US rounding ‘final turn’ on pandemic | NIH director ‘disheartened’ by lack of masks at Trump rally McConnell: Chance for coronavirus deal ‘doesn’t look that good right now’ MORE or White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Health Care: McConnell: Chance for coronavirus deal ‘doesn’t look that good right now’ | Fauci disagrees with Trump that US rounding ‘final turn’ on pandemic | NIH director ‘disheartened’ by lack of masks at Trump rally Overnight Defense: US marks 19th anniversary of 9/11 attacks | Trump awards Medal of Honor to Army Ranger for hostage rescue mission | Bahrain, Israel normalizing diplomatic ties McConnell: Chance for coronavirus deal ‘doesn’t look that good right now’ 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 SchumerSunday shows – Trump team defends coronavirus response Economist Moore calls on Pelosi, Schumer to ‘get a deal done’ amid stimulus stalemate McConnell: Chance for coronavirus deal ‘doesn’t look that good right now’ MORE (D-N.Y.) over coronavirus relief.
“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.”