Speed Reads

coronavirus relief

Mitch McConnell backs Trump's coronavirus relief decision. Analysts think it makes no sense.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CNN he supports President Trump's decision to spike coronavirus relief talks because the negotiations with congressional Democrats "were not going to produce a result and we need to concentrate on what's achievable," perhaps referring to the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation process.

But some analysts, like The Washington Post's Philip Bump, are baffled by Trump's move. Bump is of the opinion that the Democrats' latest offer was a gift for the president since it would have allowed him to take credit for rejuvenating the economy just weeks before November's presidential election.

"It's inexplicable that an incumbent president whose primary argument for his re-election is the strength of the economy would prefer to argue that 'jobs are coming back in record numbers' — a function of how deep they'd plunged — instead of actually pouring money into the economy," Bump wrote before suggesting the president is using the stalled talks to leverage votes, since he said he'd sign a "major" relief package after the election. Axios' Jonathan Swan agreed, writing, "I truly don't understand this, and nor do a number of people who advise the president. It's like he's trying to lose."

Former Obama administration economist Byron Auguste, meanwhile, isn't interested in the "political implications" of the end of talks. Instead, he said, "what matters most" is how it will affect the American people. Tim O'Donnell