• Trump accused Democrats of holding $1,200 stimulus checks hostage to aid for cash-strapped state and local governments
  • The president is still recovering from COVID-19 and is taking a steroid that interferes with thought processes and causes aggression
  • Trump's shift in direction comes as the recovery from the coronavirus-induced recession appears to be losing steam

After putting the kibosh on further coronavirus stimulus negotiations, President Donald Trump Wednesday urged Congress to send him a trimmed-down measure that would provide $1,200 payments to individuals, along with funds to shore up the airlines and small businesses.

Trump sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average into a more than 375-point dive Tuesday, tweeting he had ordered an end to negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The two sides were more than $500 billion apart on the size of the next round of stimulus. The president said there would be no new talks until after the Nov. 3 election.

The action came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urged lawmakers to pass a sizable stimulus package, warning failure would lead to a protracted recovery and permanent damage to the economy.

The Dow opened higher Wednesday, recouping Tuesday’s losses.

Hours after halting the talks, the president, who still is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 and taking a steroid that interferes with thought processes, tweeted Congress should move immediately to “approve $25 billion for airline payroll support and $135 billion for [the] Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses.”

He also accused Pelosi and other Democrats of “playing games” with stimulus payments for individuals, holding them hostage to funds for cash-strapped state and local governments reeling from the costs of dealing with the pandemic.

Wednesday morning, Trump urged Congress to “move fast” on stimulus checks for individuals.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News the president prefers standalone bills and has instructed Mnuchin to pursue that course, an approach opposed by Pelosi.

Trump’s shift in direction comes as the economic recovery appeared to be losing steam. The September jobs report said only 661,000 jobs were added last month, meaning the economy was still 10.7 million short of the number of jobs available before the coronavirus-induced recession hit and impacting lower wage earners and minorities much harder than other workers.

Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at the Century Foundation, warned a lack of action on stimulus will create more serious problems with a wave of layoffs at the airlines, banks and other industries poised to hit.

“Add it all up, and we’re experiencing a fragile, incomplete recovery, with unemployed workers losing federal aid, and other major elements of recovery legislation crumbling away,” Stettner said in an email to International Business Times.