Trump and Pelosi haven't talked for 10 months, as coronavirus continues ravaging US

The two leaders of their respective political parties last spoke at a 16 October 2019 meeting at the White House that abruptly imploded

Griffin Connolly
Washington
Tuesday 11 August 2020 16:26
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President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have not spoken in nearly 10 months, even as the US remains in the throes of one of the greatest health and economic crises in modern history and as talks towards a deal on another massive aid package have stalled.

The two most powerful leaders of their respective political parties last spoke at a 16 October 2019 meeting at the White House, CNN reported, where Mr Trump called Ms Pelosi a "third-grade politician."

The speaker fired back that “all roads with [Trump] lead to Putin,” referring to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, before abruptly gathering her things and leaving the meeting.

Since then, Ms Pelosi's House Democratic caucus has impeached Mr Trump for abusing his power in foreign policy with Ukraine for political gain; the two leaders have snubbed each other at the president's State of the Union address in February, with the speaker ripping up her copy of his speech; and the coronavirus pandemic has killed 163,000 Americans and sent the US economy into a tailspin, upending the typical presidential election cycle in the process.

Ms Pelosi has negotiated with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as a presidential go-between during previous discussions on Covid-19 legislation, which have injected more than $2.7trn into the economy and US health care system.

Talks have stalled on a fifth package, with Democrats asking for north of $4trn in aid but Republicans hesitant to spend much more than $1trn.

Mr Trump appeared to taunt Ms Pelosi (and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer) over the lagging negotiations, tweeting on Monday, "They know my phone number!"

Mr Trump, a former reality television star, has a history of drumming up personal antipathy with his professional and political rivals. And while Congress can be bitterly partisan at times, the two parties have historically come together during times of crisis and maintained a measure of collegiality for when the moment calls.

That ability to put aside differences is apparently absent in the relationship between Mr Trump and Ms Pelosi.

"This president is the biggest failure in our history," the speaker told the New York Times last week.

"I can't think of anybody worse," she said.

He, meanwhile, has called her "Crazy Nancy," a nickname for the speaker he deployed last year.

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