White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that he’s beginning to wonder if Democrats are purposely stalling coronavirus stimulus negotiations to tank the economy in an attempt to make President Trump look bad.
“There is this theory, Chuck, that the Democrats would prefer to see the economy go into the tank for another 90 days because that harms the president,” Navarro told Chuck Todd on Sunday in an interview on “Meet the Press.” “I hope that Capitol Hill hasn’t become that cynical. But watching these negotiations makes me wonder, because we’ve been willing to bend.”
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Talks have been stalled for weeks as Democrats have asked for more than $3 trillion in the relief bill while Republicans are looking for a narrower package around $1 trillion. Democrats on Thursday offered to lower their request by $1 trillion if Republicans were to increase their proposal by $1 trillion. However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday the idea was a “non-starter.”
Meanwhile, President Trump signed four executive orders on Saturday aimed at providing Americans with ongoing relief until a deal can be reached, including a $400-per-week supplemental unemployment payment for out-of-work Americans, an extension of student loan relief, protections from evictions for renters and homeowners, and a payroll tax holiday through the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000.
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Pelosi slammed the executive orders and Republicans’ reluctance to meet the $2 trillion number during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
“What the president did doesn’t even accomplish what he sets out to do in the categories that he did,” she said. “But we said to them, we’ll come down a trillion, you go up a trillion. Meet us halfway, and we’ll be able to have an agreement that meets the needs of the American people.”
She added that the Republicans’ proposal in its current form doesn’t come close to doing enough to help Americans.
“How do you justify tens of billions of dollars to feed the hungry to $250,000,” she said. “You understand how far apart we are. just by that example.”
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Navarro defended the president’s use of the executive orders, arguing that Trump is “working on behalf of the American people” while Congress remains gridlocked.
“What we’ve got here is the failure of talks and the president taking action on forefronts to help for discrete groups,” Navarro said.
He also blasted Pelosi, who he said should not be bringing private negotiations into the public forum.
“You don’t do them here on TV. You don’t do them on Capitol Hill in the rotunda like Nancy Pelosi does,” Navarro said. “You do it with sincerity. You have to have both sides willing to make a deal. I know a deal can be done if you just go by that rule.”
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Navarro acknowledged that if Congress can solve the problem, there’s no need for the president to take executive action, but argued that Democrats need to show they are willing to come to the table if real progress is to be made. Otherwise, the administration will continue to step in.
“We’ve got four actions President Trump has taken that will help workers, the unemployed, renters, homeowners and students, student who have student loans,” Navarro said. “What we need is a sincere negotiation. We have to believe that both sides actually want a deal.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.