President Donald Trump said Monday that he was “taking the streets” by not meeting with Democratic leaders as negotiations for another round of coronavirus aid continue to stall.
During a meandering White House Labor Day press conference, where Trump spoke about the economy and personally attacked Democratic rival Joe Biden, he was asked why he was not speaking to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And the Senate minority did meet leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. The prospect of additional aid to the people and businesses affected by the pandemic has diminished since talks between the Trump administration and Congress ended in late July.
“These are people I don’t respect very much [for]”I added.” I don’t think they have much respect for the American people. And I know who I’m dealing with. And I don’t have to meet with them to be rejected. “
Trump then reiterated his opposition to one of the Democrats’ biggest demands in relief negotiations – substantial aid to cities and states whose tax revenues have declined in the wake of the pandemic, which Trump described on Monday as a “bailout” for “poorly run democratic cities and states”. “Democrats say help is needed to avoid state and local layoffs that would affect critical services.
Trump was asked if he should “take to the streets” as president and meet with Democratic leaders to provide relief to Americans who are still suffering from the economic aftermath of a public health crisis.
“I’m going to the country road,” he said. “I’m taking the main street by not seeing it. This is the main street. Yes. And if I thought it made a difference or it would make a difference, I would do it in a minute.”
Congress will return to session this month, with the Senate on Tuesday and the House next week. The stalled negotiations have delayed or potentially ended the possibility of additional direct payments to Americans, support for starting schools, money to support state and local governments, and the continuation of a generous unemployment package, among other things.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have reached an informal deal to avoid a government shutdown in late September, NBC News reported last week. However, the agreement includes support for the continuation of funding levels for existing programs without possible controversial changes.
Last month, Trump signed four coronavirus economic relief ordinances to bypass Congress.
The president spoke for about an hour on Monday, standing in front of the north portico of the White House in what he tweeted as the “Labor Day News Conference” but often sounded more like a speech given at one of his campaign events. He touched on a slew of issues, including China and the trade deals, which Trump said had hurt American workers while repeatedly targeting Biden and once calling him “a stupid person.”
When asked about the Washington Post report alleging that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy had pressured employees of his logistics firm to make donations to Republicans that were later reimbursed through rewards, Trump said he would support an investigation into the matter and if DeJoy can be shown to have committed any illegal activity, he should be fired.
“Yes, always when something can be proven,” said Trump.
The president also continued to push for an Atlantic report saying he labeled dead US soldiers in 2018 as “losers” and “sucks” and said only an “animal” would make such remarks. When asked if he understood why some people had difficulty believing his disapproval, based on previous public statements calling Republican Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war, a “loser” and “liking people who did it.” were not “captured,” said Trump: “No, I don’t understand. “
“No, I don’t get it at all because I’ve always been on the other side of John McCain,” he said.
Trump, shortly before finishing his remarks, claimed that “sophisticated” friends of his told him “you have to be the most innocent man to ever hold office.”
Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, hosted a Labor Day event in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he was accompanied by Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and construction workers.
“I can’t think of a better place to go on an American vacation celebrating America’s hard work tradition and the American dream,” said Pence.
Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris also went on the campaign on Monday with events in honor of the organized labor movement. Harris made a physical stop in Milwaukee, where she toured an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers facility before attending a roundtable of black business owners, while the former vice president attended a roundtable of union leaders in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, ahead of an event, according to the AFL -CIO headquarters in Harrisburg.
Back at the White House, Trump said Labor Day was the perfect time to discuss trade relations with China and other nations.
“And I’m talking about it because today is Labor Day,” Trump said. “It’s a good time to talk about when countries are betraying us, but no one is even close to China.”