Meadows says White House stimulus efforts ongoing amid Trump’s back-and-forth

Mark Meadows

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows walks to speak with reporters at the White House. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday morning that he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were actively considering a stimulus measure aimed at distributing checks to Americans while providing aid to airlines and small businesses — further muddling the administration’s messaging after President Donald Trump appeared to abruptly call off coronavirus relief talks a day earlier.

“The president [has] already been on the phone this morning talking to Secretary Mnuchin,” Meadows told “Fox & Friends” in an interview. “The secretary and I have been talking about what we could do with stand-alone bills to help airlines, small businesses and the American people, with stimulus checks. So, hopefully, we can convince Speaker Pelosi to do something on a stand-alone basis.”


The remarks from Meadows — who, along with Mnuchin, has served as one of Trump’s top negotiators on Capitol Hill — came just hours after the president announced on Twitter that he was postponing talks to secure a new economic aid package until after the November election.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had proposed at least $2.4 trillion in stimulus, but Trump said he would not agree to a deal of more than $1.6 trillion. “I am rejecting their … request, and looking to the future of our Country,” he tweeted Tuesday afternoon after a phone call with Mnuchin and Republican congressional leaders.

But later Tuesday night, Trump reversed course and seemingly sought to restart relief talks, tweeting that he would approve a stimulus measure to send Americans $1,200 checks “IMMEDIATELY” amid the pandemic. “I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” he wrote.

The president confused matters further Wednesday morning, minutes after Meadows’ interview, when he took to Twitter to urge Pelosi: “Move Fast, I Am Waiting To Sign!” Although talks between Pelosi and the White House have stalled, her discussions with Mnuchin intensified last week.

Pelosi and congressional Democrats have previously expressed opposition to a piecemeal stimulus proposal, arguing it does not meet the mammoth needs of an economy still reeling from the effects of Covid-19 restrictions and unemployed workers. Millions have lost their jobs, and the coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also would face difficulty convincing his GOP caucus to get on board with a big, last-minute agreement, as he remains focused on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

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