Nancy Pelosi blasts the White House’s $1.8 trillion stimulus offer and lists 8 areas with ‘deficiencies’

Nancy Pelosi wearing a blue shirt: The House passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus to help keep the US economy afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

© Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
The House passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus to help keep the US economy afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped into the Trump administration’s virus relief proposal on Tuesday.
  • “A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up,” Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats.
  • She listed eight areas where Democrats said it had “deficiencies,” among them state and local aid, virus testing, and tax credits for low-income individuals.
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi fiercely criticized the Trump administration’s $1.8 stimulus offer for the third time on Tuesday, and outlined eight areas where Democrats say the plan falls woefully short.

She argued that President Donald Trump’s interest in an economic relief package stems from a desire to send another wave of $1,200 stimulus checks and juice the stock market.

“A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up,” Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats.

The White House plan includes $1,200 direct payments, $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits, $300 billion in aid to state and local governments, and funds for virus testing and tracing.

The California Democrat listed eight areas with significant “deficiencies:”

  • Aid to state and local governments.
  • Coronavirus testing.
  • Tax credits for families and low-income individuals.
  • Rental assistance.
  • Workplace protections and childcare.
  • Federal funds for states to conduct safe elections.
  • Relief for small businesses.
  • Census funding.

Pelosi called for “significant changes” to the White House plan.

Read more: A $2.5 billion investment chief highlights the stock-market sectors poised to benefit the most if stimulus is passed after the election — and says Trump ending negotiations doesn’t threaten the economic recovery

Negotiations on another stimulus package appear to be deadlocked once again after the Trump administration bumped up its stimulus offer to $1.8 trillion on Friday. Both parties panned the proposal over the weekend. Republicans assailed it as a costly package while Democrats contended it didn’t do enough to address the public health and economic crises.

The on-again, off-again talks between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin entered a volatile period last week after Trump ended them and revived the discussions a few days later. But there’s been no major headway with Democrats calling for at least $2.2 trillion in spending. The Democratic-led House approved an economic aid package earlier this month.

Trump is doubling down on his efforts to secure a coronavirus relief package with three weeks to go before Election Day as polls indicate he is trailing his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.

The president called on Republicans to approve a federal rescue package on

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White House’s line on economic aid descends deeper into incoherence

It was six days ago when Donald Trump, after weeks of confusing and contradictory messages, announced that he was pulling the plug on bipartisan talks on an economic aid package. White House officials said the process was over and negotiations would not begin anew before the elections.

It was four days ago when the president, realizing he’d “messed up tactically,” began calling for renewed talks on economic aid.

And it was three days ago when Trump told Rush Limbaugh that his newest position was the opposite of the one he’d held earlier in the week.

“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than, frankly, either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering,” Trump said on an appearance of the Rush Limbaugh Show on Friday, acknowledging it was “the exact opposite” of his initial demands.

I realize that the president doesn’t generally keep up on current events, but when he mentioned the package “Republicans are offering,” he was referring to the proposal floated by his own White House. It’s his own team that’s responsible for making the “offer,” which in turn created an awkward dynamic: Trump effectively told Limbaugh that he’s against Team Trump’s plan.

While the president was delivering that message, his team was extending a new pitch to congressional Democrats: a $1.8 trillion aid package, well below the $2.4 trillion package House Democrats recently approved, and roughly half the $3.4 trillion proposal Democrats pushed several months ago.

Trump told Fox News yesterday that GOP lawmakers are fully on board with the $1.8 trillion offer. That wasn’t even close to being true: Senate Republicans actually wasted little time letting the White House know they’re staunchly opposed to the latest proposal, as are House Democrats. In fact, if Trump’s comments to Limbaugh were sincere, even he’s against his own White House plan.

If this is all starting to sound like an incoherent mess, it’s not your imagination. The Tax Policy Center’s Renu Zaretsky explained this morning, “In just the past week, Trump has said he wants a big bill, then no bill, then a small bill, then a $1.8 trillion bill, and now, perhaps, an even bigger bill than that. Or not.”

Meanwhile, Larry Kudlow, the top economics voice in the White House, told CNN yesterday that Trump is prepared to accept a deal worth more than $2.2 trillion — effectively killing the $1.8 trillion offer the White House extended on Friday — even as GOP senators tell anyone who’ll listen they want the administration to move in the opposite direction.

Many Americans are wondering if a much-needed economic lifeline is on the way. Alas, I think they should keep their expectations low.

Postscript: Senate Republicans also reportedly complained to the White House on Saturday that Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell “had gone too far in demanding Congress approve sweeping economic relief and that he went out of his lane in making his demands publicly known.”

It’s an odd thing to complain about: Republican senators don’t want to

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A new fellowship to explore White House’s history of slavery

Last month, the association announced the creation of a joint two-year fellowship with American University’s Antiracist Research & Policy Center for a graduate student to continue the work.

“The creation of this fellowship is an important opportunity to deepen our understanding of slavery’s enduring legacy in our nation’s capital.” said Stewart McLaurin, the association’s president. “The protests that have erupted this summer over issues of racial injustice are a stark reminder of how important this work is.”

Mia Owens, a first-year graduate student in AU’s public history program, was selected as the inaugural fellow. Owens, 23, grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and immersed herself in the civil rights history of her hometown. She says the opportunity to do this work at this moment in American life is crucial.

Because of the pandemic, Owens will remain in Alabama for this semester and begin her work with the association from a distance. But that isn’t diminishing her enthusiasm for the project.

“I think especially right now, when so many people are focusing and having conversations about racial injustice in the country … it is so important that we as historians also contribute to that field and look at this history that has been overlooked for so long,” Owens said.

For the past two years, the White House Historical Association has been examining the ties between the president’s home and slavery. Earlier this year, it launched “Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood,” an online exhibit that shared research about how the White House relied on labor by enslaved people from its inception through the first half of the 19th century.

The research found that more than 300 enslaved men, women and children worked in the house or on the grounds over that time as builders, cleaners, servers, cooks and gardeners. Captive and unpaid, they worked to serve the leader of a country founded on freedom as an inherent right.

The historians determined that enslaved people served in the White House under 10 presidents beginning with George Washington. They learned as well that Thomas Jefferson, who owned more enslaved people than any other president, chose to employ white servants at the White House because, as he explained to a friend in a letter, “At Washington I prefer white servants, who, when they misbehave, can be exchanged.” And they discovered that President Andrew Jackson, while in office, purchased a young enslaved girl named Emeline, 8, to work in the White House.

Acknowledging and documenting the history that was for so long ignored is an essential responsibility, said Colleen Shogan, senior vice president and director of the David Rubenstein Center for White House History. That’s especially true, she said, as the nation continues to wrestle and come to terms with its legacy of racial injustice.

“You can’t understand what has happened in this country, you can’t process these occurrences of injustice without understanding the history that led up to them,” Shogan said. “The White House plays one particular role within that larger story of American slavery and

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Nancy Pelosi merely panned the White House’s $1.8 trillion relief offer, but Republicans revolted against it.

Senate Republicans revolted over the contours of a $1.8 trillion relief proposal that is the Trump administration’s latest and largest offer to House Democrats, further jeopardizing already dim prospects for an agreement on a broad stimulus bill before Election Day.

Even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that the offer remained inadequate, many Republican senators lashed into the administration’s approach to the revived negotiations during a conference call on Saturday morning between close to half of the chamber’s Republicans and top administration officials.

The $1.8 trillion proposal that Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, put forward on Friday was the administration’s biggest offer since bipartisan negotiations began in late summer. The proposal came just days after President Trump abruptly ended negotiations and then, facing a backlash, reversed course and began urgently seeking to secure Democratic support for a deal.

The stark divisions between most Senate Republicans and the White House undercut the potential for an agreement before the election on Nov. 3, even as the country’s economic recovery continues to falter and tens of thousands of Americans, businesses and schools struggle to weather the pandemic without federal relief.

The Republican criticism on Saturday was so severe that Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, at one point told the senators on the conference call that he would relay their concerns to Mr. Trump, but that then “you all will have to come to my funeral.” (Mr. Mnuchin concurred.)

Details of the call were described in some manner by seven people briefed on the discussion, who all insisted on anonymity to disclose details of a private conversation.

Most of the senators who spoke on the call signaled an openness to continuing negotiations. However, there was widespread dissatisfaction with how expensive the administration’s offer had become, as well as with the perception that Mr. Mnuchin, in talks with Ms. Pelosi, was relying far more on the Democrats’ proposed $2.2 trillion plan as a baseline than the two more limited proposals put forward by Senate Republicans.

“There’s no appetite right now to spend the White House number or the House number,” Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said on the call, reflecting longstanding concerns among senators eager to protect their credentials as fiscal hawks and stave off primary challengers in the next election cycle.

Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee warned that accepting a bill with Ms. Pelosi’s support would amount to a “death knell” for Republican ambitions to retain their majority in the Senate and would “deflate” the party’s base.

Ms. Pelosi, for her part, informed Democratic lawmakers on Saturday that she found elements of Mr. Mnuchin’s proposal to be inadequate, writing in a letter that “this proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back.”

“When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold,” Ms. Pelosi wrote, adding “at this point, we still have disagreement on many priorities.” She ticked off a number of unresolved

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Senate Republicans Denounce White House’s Offer for Coronavirus Relief

Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, a Republican, warned that accepting a bill with Ms. Pelosi’s support would amount to a “death knell” for the party’s ambitions to retain its majority in the Senate and would “deflate” the Republican base, reflecting longstanding concerns among senators eager to protect their credentials as fiscal hawks and stave off primary challengers in the next election cycle.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, declared that accepting a Democratic push to expand elements of the Affordable Care Act would be “an enormous betrayal” of Republican voters. Republicans have also voiced concerns that the health care provisions Democrats have pressed for could result in the use of federal funds for abortions, a characterization Democrats dispute.

“I don’t get it,” Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, said of the administration’s efforts to reach a sweeping bipartisan deal with House Democrats, echoing the sentiments of multiple senators.

Ms. Pelosi, for her part, informed Democratic lawmakers that she found elements of Mr. Mnuchin’s proposal to be inadequate, writing in a letter on Saturday that “this proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back.” After scaling down House Democrats’ original $3.4 trillion proposal to $2.2 trillion, she has been unwilling to accept much less than that.

“When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold,” Ms. Pelosi wrote, adding “at this point, we still have disagreement on many priorities.” She ticked off a number of unresolved issues, including what she said was insufficient funding for unemployment benefits, child care, and state and local governments, and “reckless” liability protections that Republicans have insisted are a priority.

She said she was waiting for specific language from the administration about several provisions, including a national strategy for testing and tracing to contain the spread of the virus. It remained unclear whether she and Mr. Mnuchin would speak over the weekend.

Moderate Republicans, particularly those who are facing tough re-election races, are among the few senators who have voiced support for a bipartisan coronavirus deal and expressed few reservations about the pice tag. A handful of those senators, on a private call with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, pushed for action on a bipartisan deal, particularly after Mr. Trump briefly withdrew negotiators from talks and gave Democrats political cover for failure to reach an agreement.

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Mike Pence couldn’t defend the White House’s coronavirus response, so he made up alternative facts

Mike Pence
Mike Pence

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence debates Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is the only scheduled debate between the two before the general election on November 3. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly made false claims about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response as he dodged, interrupted and obfuscated through the vice presidential debate on Wednesday.

Though the lone vice presidential debate was far more civil than the mind-melting presidential debate last week, it was not much different in substance. Moderator Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today, asked Pence and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris about a range of important issues but completely failed to press the candidates to actually respond to her questions. That allowed Pence to repeatedly dodge questions he did not want to answer about Trump’s health, racial justice and even abortion.

Pence also refused to say what he would do if Trump rejected a peaceful transition of power, instead echoing the president’s false claims about virtually non-existent voter fraud.

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The two candidates were divided by plexiglass barriers after President Donald Trump and numerous top aides tested positive for the coronavirus following a possible “super spreader” White House event where Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was formally announced. Pence’s unusually red eyes prompted speculation about whether he had “COVID pink eye,” and he was instantly turned into a meme when a fly sat on his head for a full two minutes during one of the segments.

Harris also dodged questions throughout the night as she was repeatedly interrupted by Pence. CBS News found that Pence interrupted Harris twice as much as she interrupted him. Despite avoiding questions about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s health and whether the ticket supports expanding the Supreme Court, fact-checkers concluded that Harris was far more honest than her Republican opponent, who repeatedly made false and misleading claims about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. Pence heads the chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Harris called the response to the pandemic the “greatest failure of any presidential administration,” repeatedly pointing out the mounting death toll in the U.S. Pence responded by bizarrely claiming that the Obama-Biden response to the H1N1 swine flu in 2009 was a bigger “failure,” because that virus infected 60 million people.

But the swine flu was far less dangerous than the coronavirus, which has killed more than 211,000 people in the US. By comparison, fewer than 13,000 Americans died from the swine flu. Because it was less deadly, it did not require a lockdown, which allowed the virus to spread wider than the coronavirus has thus far. The regular flu typically infects more than 35 million people each year and kills far more

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Despite the White House’s COVID-19 Outbreak, the Trump Campaign Continues to Ignore Public Health Guidelines

It’s safe to say that if most political campaigns had seen its candidate, campaign manager, and more than a dozen associates test positive for COVID-19 within days of each other, they would likely reassess the strategy of holding large, in-person events that could be potential breeding grounds for the highly-infectious and deadly disease.

a person looking at the camera: A car with U.S. President Trump drives past supporters in a motorcade outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on October 4, 2020.

© Alex Edelman—AFP/Getty Images
A car with U.S. President Trump drives past supporters in a motorcade outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on October 4, 2020.

Not so with the Trump campaign.

While briefly pausing in-person events after President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disclosed their positive diagnoses on Oct. 2, the campaign announced, just a day later, that “Operation MAGA”—a series of in-person events that the campaign touted as a way to “energize and mobilize the MAGA universe to maintain full speed until the President returns to the campaign trail”—will commence later this week. Trump himself tweeted on Oct. 5, the same day he was discharged from the hospital, that he “will be back on the Campaign Trail soon.”

The Trump campaign’s schedule is already jam-packed. On Oct. 8, Vice President Mike Pence will hold a rally at a tactical gear manufacturing company in Peoria, Ariz. On that same day Donald Trump Jr. is scheduled to hold an event at a Holiday Inn in Panama City, Fla., Lara Trump will join Trump campaign advisers Mercedes Schlapp and Katrina Pierson for a “women for Trump bus tour event in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and Eric Trump will host two events in North Carolina.

“I expect us to have upwards of fifty folks all around the country,” said Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, “flooding the zone in the battleground states later this week.”

Republican strategists say that one main reason the Trump campaign struggled to pivot after the President’s diagnosis is because its strategy, unlike many other Presidential campaigns in the past, is almost entirely dependent on the man on the top of the ticket. Instead of switching the focus to messaging about specific policy promises or other moves a second-term Trump Administration might embrace, they’re hamstrung by their dependence on Trump’s personal draw as a candidate.

“This campaign relies on the candidate to carry [it] more than most campaigns do,” says Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked on Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s 016 presidential run. “It’s clearly not helpful to not have the candidate traveling the country in the final weeks of the election.”

But the Trump campaign’s decision to stick to the current strategy carries its own risks. Trump is trailing Biden in the polls by double digits, and a CNN poll released on Oct. 5 found that two thirds of Americans thought he handled the risk of coronavirus irresponsibly. It’s unlikely that continuing to hold in-person events will improve the President’s standing on this latter point.

Pence and Trump Jr.’s in-person rallies this week pose a particular issue. If these

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Journalists criticize White House’s lack of transparency on Trump’s health and whereabouts

Then, some two hours later, the president rolled by the facility during an impromptu drive to thank his supporters, who have been camped outside the medical center in Bethesda, Md.

Axios reporter Alayna Treene, who was the press representative, said there was no heads-up. “The pool was not informed of this ahead of time, and we have not been called back to the White House or Walter Reed,” she said in a dispatch shortly afterward. (Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere called it “a short, last-minute motorcade ride.”)

The episode was indicative of the disconnect between the Trump administration and a press corps eager for accurate and timely information about the president’s condition.

Associated Press White House reporter Zeke Miller, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, sent a strongly worded statement to The Washington Post taking the administration to task. “It is outrageous for the president to have left the hospital — even briefly — amid a health crisis without a protective pool present to ensure that the American people know where their president is and how he is doing,” he said. “Now more than ever, the American public deserves independent coverage of the president so they can be reliably informed about his health.”

On CNN on Sunday night, White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond said “there was no warning, there was no notice from the White House that the president was about to do this.”

It was not the first frustration of the day for the journalists covering the president’s condition.

Just before noon, White House physician Sean Conley addressed journalists in a news conference, during which he shared some information about the president’s condition — and need for supplemental oxygen — though he declined to answer other questions, including one about whether the president is being treated in a negative-pressure room.

CNN’s Jake Tapper was apparently not pleased with Conley’s response. “Excuse me?” he said on the air. “You’re ‘not going to get into the specifics of his care?’”

After Conley said that he wanted to “reflect [an] upbeat attitude” during his news briefing on Saturday, explaining the discrepancy between his rosy assessment and a more dour prognosis that was initially provided anonymously before being attributed to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Tapper said, “I don’t need ‘upbeat attitude’ as an American citizen. I need to know the facts about how the president is doing.”

Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, said Conley was “dancing around really important questions.”

Later in the broadcast, the network’s chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, took things one step further. “We don’t need a medical briefing from a Baghdad Bob,” she said, drawing a comparison to Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, who provided daily, propagandistic news briefings on behalf of Saddam Hussein’s government during the Iraq War.

“He had the facts,” Fox News correspondent Trace Gallagher said on the network. “He just chose not to share them.”

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5 big questions on the White House’s botched handling of Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis

As with previous flaps over Trump’s health, there is clearly tension between projecting the kind of strength he likes to see and providing actual, sober-minded details — a tension that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows seemed to acknowledge in his own updates on Trump’s situation.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Meadows acknowledged that Trump was probably watching him on TV and “probably critiquing the way that I’m answering these questions.”

As of Sunday afternoon, there are very valid questions about whether anyone providing details of Trump’s health, including Conley and Meadows, can be trusted. Let’s run down the major questions and contradictions.

1. The oxygen question

At the start of Saturday’s briefings, Conley said Trump “this morning is not on oxygen, not having difficulty breathing or walking around the White House Medical Unit upstairs.”

But that seemed carefully worded. So he wasn’t on oxygen that morning, reporters noted, but what about before?

Conley repeatedly avoided a direct answer, focusing on the present tense:

QUESTION: And he is receiving no — he has not received any supplemental oxygen?

CONLEY: He is not on oxygen right now, that’s right.

QUESTION: He has not received any at all?

CONLEY: He has not needed any this morning today at all. That’s right. Now he’s —

QUESTION: Has he ever been on supplemental oxygen?

CONLEY: Right now, he is not on oxygen —

QUESTION: I understand. I know you keep saying right now. But should we read into the fact that he had been previously —

CONLEY: Yesterday and today he was not on oxygen.

QUESTION: So, he has not been on it during his covid treatment?

CONLEY: He is not on oxygen right now.

When you keep dodging a question like that, it’s for one of two reasons: a) You don’t know the answer (which seems extremely unlikely given that this is Trump’s White House doctor), or, the much-more-likely, b) Trump was on oxygen at some point, but Conley was trying to avoid acknowledging that.

The White House later confirmed, anonymously, that Trump was given oxygen at the White House on Friday before going to Walter Reed hospital. But if that’s the case, it contradicts one of Conley’s answers, when he said, “Yesterday and today he was not on oxygen.”

Conley on Sunday also acknowledged Trump had been on oxygen, while building on his increasingly bizarre commentary. He said that he was “not necessarily” intending to mislead and that he want to be publicly “upbeat.” But he added that he didn’t want to say anything Saturday “that might steer the course of illness in another direction” — as if acknowledging the truth could worsen Trump’s condition.

So for all intents and purposes, he was being deliberately misleading. That alone should call the White House’s candor on this stuff into extreme question. And why wouldn’t the same motivations apply to Sunday’s and future briefings? Are we to now believe that Conley isn’t putting the same rose-colored filter on everything?

It also bears

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How Mark Mark Meadows Became the White House’s Unreliable Source

That’s one diagnosis of Meadows—and trust me, there are plenty to go around in Washington. Friends would describe him as a respectable player—calculating and slippery but decent to a fault. Enemies would liken him to a political sociopath, someone whose charm and affability conceal an unemotional capacity for deception. What both groups would agree upon is that Meadows, the 61-year-old White House chief of staff, is so consumed with his cloak-and-dagger, three-dimensional-chess approach to Washington that he can’t always be trusted.

Which makes him precisely the wrong person to be at the center of an international crisis.

It was unsettling enough on Saturday morning to hear President Trump’s personal physician, Sean Conley, evading questions from the media during a news conference outside Walter Reed Medical Center. Tasked with giving an update on Trump’s bout with Covid-19, Conley wouldn’t say definitively whether the president had ever been given supplemental oxygen; what his temperature was; whether any lung damage had been detected. Making matters worse, the timeline he provided of Trump’s illness was wrong; he was forced to correct it after the briefing. Still, the big takeaway was that Trump was doing “very well,” that doctors were “extremely happy” with his condition, that the move to Walter Reed was nothing more than a “precautionary measure.”

Incredibly, just minutes after that briefing, the traveling press pool blasted out a statement provided by “a source familiar with the president’s health.” The anonymous quote hinted at something far bleaker than what the 10-member team of medical professionals had just offered: “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

It became immediately obvious that Meadows was the source; he was the only White House official at Walter Reed, the only person who could have so immediately briefed the pool on the president’s condition. (Sure enough, footage quickly surfaced showing Meadows pulling the reporters to the side, asking to speak “off the record with some of y’all” for a minute.)

What wasn’t clear—and still isn’t clear—is why Meadows said what he said. (I tried to get him to explain but he did not respond to messages seeking comment.)

Here again, there are competing theories among people who know him. One is that Meadows was concerned that Americans weren’t getting the full picture on the president’s health and wanted to offer a more realistic assessment. Another is that Meadows, a lover of political drama, wanted to seed a narrative of the president on the ropes and fighting for his life, setting up the storyline of a triumphant comeback. In reality, the likeliest explanation is that Meadows, having watched the doctors shed little light on Trump’s situation, tried to be helpful by providing some needed context to reporters, but overstepped with his melodramatic wording.

Whatever the case, Meadows erred not only by stepping on the doctors’ statement with his own, but by

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