US President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, announced that he is ceasing negotiation on a coronavirus relief bill until he wins the presidential elections. He publicly turned down the Democratic stimulus offer in a series of tweets, sending stocks plunging.
“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,” the president wrote in a tweet thread “I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our Country.”
The last major coronavirus aid bill expired two months ago, at the end of July. This ended the federal unemployment benefits that had supported millions of Americans during the pandemic. Since then, talks between the White House and House Democrats have been stalled. Negotiations seemed to pick up momentum recently, until Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19. Soon after his release, the president announced his abrupt change of direction.
Trump’s announcement caused a dive in the stock market within moments, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued to drop up to 600 points. As recently as a day earlier, Trump had touted the markets as a key to his re-election campaign through his tweet. Three days earlier, while hospitalized, Trump had stated in a tweet: “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!” However, this is not unprecedented in Trump’s political career, as he has failed to deliver on multiple promises, such as of an alternative system to Obamacare.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had been scheduled to meet for negotiations later Tuesday, until Trump backed out at the eleventh hour.
Pelosi released a statement accusing Trump of displaying contempt for science and for workers.
“Today, once again, President Trump showed his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP Members of Congress,” she said. “Walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates that President Trump is unwilling to crush the virus.”
Earlier, hours before Trump’s tweets, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell had expressed caution over “tragic” consequences if the White House and Congress refused to a robust stimulus package to prevent bankruptcies and business closures. He stated, “Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses.”
Trump’s volatile decision-making has garnered him the ire of both Democrats and Republicans.
“Remember this tweet when you don’t have another stimulus check in your mailbox this fall,” tweeted Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly in response to Trump’s announcement.
Meanwhile, Republicans had been attempting to place blame upon Democrats for disagreeing to a new stimulus package. However, this message was explicitly refuted by Trump’s tweets.
The stimulus plan, if implemented, would have introduced aid packages including another round of $1,200 direct cash payments to individuals, enhanced unemployment benefits, billions of dollars in assistance for small businesses, aid for the airline industry, and money for coronavirus testing. As per Trump’s current assertion, none of this is to be implement until after the elections.