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President Trump called on Congress to approve federal economic relief late Tuesday night mere hours after publicly terminating negotiations with Democrats, posting tweets that appeared to contradict his own declarations from earlier the same day.
He continued pushing for more stimulus on Wednesday as aides scrambled to adjust to his ever-changing directives.
Trump had instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday afternoon to abandon bipartisan talks over a stimulus package, complaining that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was making unreasonable demands in negotiations. “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election,” the president said.
About seven hours later, Trump appeared to reverse himself in a new string of tweets.
After canceling talks, he publicly urged members of his own administration to work with congressional Democrats to approve additional federal stimulus measures.
At 9:54 p.m., he called on the House and Senate to “IMMEDIATELY” approve $25 billion in new aid for the airline industry, which has already begun laying off thousands of employees after federal aid programs expired last week.
At 10:18 p.m., he called for Congress to direct $1,200 payments to millions of Americans and said he wanted immediate aid for small businesses.
“I am ready to sign right now,” he wrote. “Are you listening Nancy?”
He was referring to House Speaker Pelosi, though he “tagged” his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and other congressional leaders in the Twitter post.
Despite the president’s tweets Tuesday night, Meadows told reporters on Wednesday morning: “The stimulus negotiations are off.”
Further complicating matters, Mnuchin asked Pelosi on Wednesday morning about the possibility of a standalone agreement on relief for the airline industry, Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said on Twitter.
Pelosi reminded Mnuchin on the call that Republicans had blocked a standalone bill that would have provided more airline aid last week, and asked him to review House Democrats’ airline bill “so that they could have an informed conversation,” according to Hammill. A Treasury Department spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.