White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows fired back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Wednesday after she questioned whether the president's use of steroids to treat his coronavirus infection had impacted his sudden decision to halt negotiations on another relief bill.
"Anybody who’s negotiated with Nancy Pelosi more than a month will realize that cutting off the deal has nothing to do with steroids," Meadows said on "Special Report". "It has more to do with the person that looks in the mirror when she gets up in the morning."
Pelosi raised the issue with members of her caucus after Trump announced Tuesday that he had instructed Republicans to pause negotiations on a stimulus package until after the election. Trump appeared to reverse course hours later, instructing Congress to pass individual coronavirus relief measures in a series of tweets early Wednesday.
In an interview Wednesday on ABC's "The View," Pelosi recalled telling her colleagues: "There are those who say that a steroid has an impact on people's thinking. I don't know, but there are those health care providers that say that."
Meadows blamed Pelosi for the stalled negotiations, accusing her of insisting on a $2.4 trillion package despite repeated offers from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who was "willing to go to $1.7 trillion."
"But," Meadows said, "she would rather have zero than that kind of number. I can tell you maybe perhaps the best way to do it is take all of the things we agree upon, start building those back and passing those out."
The chief of staff added that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will explore the possibility of a separate bill that would benefit airlines and small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program until Congress can get their act together.
"But at the same time, if she [Pelosi] thinks that she can come back with something that is closer to where Secretary Mnuchin has come up to, I am sure the president is more than willing to look at a counter-proposal," Meadows explained.
Asked about the president's condition, Meadows said Trump spent the full day in the Oval Office and that "he's telling me privately he's feels better than he did 20 years ago."
"We are just very, very very thankful to the doctors, to the American people, for their well wishes," he added, "and for hopefully, this groundbreaking drug that has made such a difference in the president's recovery."