It's 'been a little while' since Pelosi heard from Trump

What does it say about the president's capacity for leadership that he can't bring himself to communicate with Pelosi, even in the midst of a crisis?
Image: *** BESTPIX *** President Trump Gives State Of The Union Address
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) attempts to shake hands with President Donald Trump in the beginning of the State of the Union address as Vice President Mike Pence looks on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 04, 2020 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer / Getty Images
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By Steve Benen

A reporter asked Donald Trump yesterday when he'd last spoken to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The president replied, "Well, it's -- it's been a little while."

And how long, pray tell, is "a little while"? CNN fleshed out a more detailed answer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump have not spoken in more than five months, according to a Pelosi aide, something that's even more remarkable given the crisis facing the country and the massive rescue packages moving through Congress. The two have not spoken since Pelosi stood up and left at an October 16 meeting after Trump railed at her and insulted her as a "third-grade politician." Pelosi later said Trump had a "meltdown."

The report added that during a time of crisis, leaders would typically be expected to "put aside their differences and talk," but that "has not happened with Trump."

This comes on the heels of a recent Daily Beast report, which noted that the president "can't stand the idea of negotiating one-on-one with his chief counterpart."

Two senior Trump administration officials described a president who, out of an intense bitterness toward the House Speaker, has shuddered at the prospect of being in the same room with her during the ongoing public-health crisis and economic reverberations.

"At this time, the president does not see it as productive to [personally] negotiate directly with Nancy Pelosi," said one of the senior administration officials.

Around the same time, CNBC's Eamon Javers told MSNBC that Trump won't get in a room with Pelosi because he's still personally wounded over his impeachment.

There appear to be some workarounds. The Speaker has, for example, negotiated directly with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin without incident.

But what does it say about the president's capacity for leadership that he can't bring himself to communicate with Pelosi, even in the midst of a crisis?