Why Trump isn't negotiating with Pelosi on coronavirus response

By some accounts, Trump won't get in a room with Pelosi, even to negotiate a coronavirus response, because he's still personally wounded by his impeachment
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, February 04, 2020 in Washington, D.C.Drew Angerer / Getty Images
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By Steve Benen

There's a fair amount of agreement in the nation's capital about the need for an emergency economic package, and under normal circumstances, Americans might expect to see their president negotiating with congressional leaders over the terms of a deal. Even under current circumstances, Donald Trump considers himself a world-renowned expert on deal-making, so it stands to reason he'd bring lawmakers into the Oval Office for talks.

But that doesn't appear to be happening. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has had several discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about an economic response to the coronavirus outbreak, but she hasn't yet sat down with the president himself. As The Daily Beast reported, that's because Trump "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.

The report came on the heels of CNBC's Eamon Javers telling MSNBC this week that Trump won't get in a room with Pelosi because he's still personally wounded over his impeachment.

When the pressure's on, and there's a crisis underway, the president's delicate emotional state remains a point of concern.

But as Trump takes aim at the House Speaker via Twitter, the Californian is moving forward today with an expansive legislative package. Politico had a good piece along these lines this morning, noting that recent developments on Capitol Hill served as a reminder "that for all Trump's omnipresence on Twitter and cable TV, Pelosi remains the dominant figure on Capitol Hill when it comes time to actually getting something accomplished."