House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there’s little chance of her negotiating a new round of stimulus funding inside the Oval Office.
When asked about resuming in-person talks with President Donald Trump, the San Francisco Democrat said she “wouldn’t go anywhere near the White House.”
She referenced the West Wing coronavirus outbreak in her explanation.
“It’s one of the most dangerous places in the country both in terms of the assault that it makes on truth as well as health,” Pelosi told The View host Whoopi Goldberg.
Pelosi went on to question the president’s general fitness following his coronavirus diagnosis and his treatments, both of which she suggested could be altering the president’s mental state.
“The combination is something that should be viewed,” she said.
The virus cast a long shadow over the White House, where more positive cases among staff were reported this week. Aides have noticed that while Trump was receiving wishes for his recovery, including from Democrats, there was little sympathy amid a sense that he had brought the virus on himself.
Trump has again played to his base in the aftermath, being the driving force behind a quick trip outside the hospital Sunday afternoon to greet fans from his armored SUV — a sojourn that energized supporters but unnecessarily jeopardized the health of the Secret Service agents guarding him.
Likewise, Trump was intimately involved in the planning for his evening return to the White House, turning it into a made-for-TV moment that dominated evening newscasts.
Trump was eager to return to the campaign trail, telling aides that he wanted a series of mega rallies in Republican-friendly areas in battleground states to mark his recovery. But it remained to be seen when Trump would be cleared to set foot on Air Force One again.
The president was still contagious, and the White House doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said they were regularly testing Trump to determine whether he still posed a risk to others. And even once he’s no longer actively shedding the virus, Trump could still test positive for some time.
The long-term effects of the virus on Trump’s health were not clear — White House doctors have not discussed them with the public. Nor was it clear when Trump might feel up to resume a full campaign schedule. He appeared to be breathing heavily Monday evening after climbing stairs upon his return to the White House.
But his aides feel that he can’t afford to be off the campaign trail for long.
“If he had his druthers, I don’t know if he would have ever gotten off the trail,” said campaign spokesperson Hogan Gidley. “He’s back, and when he’s well enough, he’ll be back on the campaign trail.”
The president has faced steady deficits in the national polls and — while smaller — in the battleground states. Aides have grown concerned about a slide in support after last week’s debate, one marked by Trump repeatedly interrupting and hectoring Biden while not offering a robust condemnation of white supremacists.
Although his campaign had felt confident about his standing in Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, he has faced deficits in Michigan and Wisconsin, putting an extraordinary emphasis on Pennsylvania, which was emerging as the potential tipping point state to give Biden or Trump the needed 270 electoral votes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report