WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday night that, in the wake of his executive orders on coronavirus finanical relief, the Democrats have called him about reopening negotiations.
If that’s true, it doesn’t appear as though the Democrats’ lead negotiators — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — were on the other end of the line.
“The Democrats have called,” Trump said at the Morristown, New Jersey, airport. “They’d like to get together. And we say if it’s not a waste of time, we’ll do it. But if it is a waste of time, it doesn’t make sense.”
Appearing Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Schumer denied that he or Pelosi have called Trump since he issued his executive orders on enhanced unemployment benefits, the deferment of payroll tax collection and student loan payments, and an eviction on moratoriums.
“Fables from Donald Trump,” Schumer said of the president’s comments. “No, we didn’t call him. He makes these things up or he hears somebody said, ‘Oh, the Democrats are calling you,’ and he acts like it’s true.”
Schumer, however, said he’s open to returning to the bargaining table if Republicans are willing to compromise. Before talks collapsed Friday, Democrats were seeking a $3.4 trillion deal, while Republicans wanted a package more in the $1 trillion range.
“Here’s how we’ve left it: On Thursday, we said to them, ‘We’re willing to come down $1 trillion. You come up $1 trillion. When you’re ready, come back to us,’” Schumer said.
Democrats — and some Republicans — have questioned whether Trump has the legal authority to enact the executive orders.
“What the president did is unconstitutional slop,” Pelosi said on “Fox News Sunday.” “These are illusions.”
Schumer said the orders are “unworkable, weak and far too narrow.”
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Mnuchin said he, too, is willing to resume talks “if we can get a fair deal.”
On Sunday, he defended Trump’s executive orders.
“We’ve cleared with the office of legal counsel all these actions,” Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. “If the Democrats want to challenge us in court and hold up unemployment benefits to those hardworking Americans that are out of a job because of COVID, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do.”