The White House cast a Friday report from The Washington Post as a selective leak from Democrats meant to undermine ongoing negotiations of another coronavirus stimulus package.
The report in question suggested that President Donald Trump is willing to sign a potential stimulus package into law even if it doesn’t contain specific liability and cited two individuals “with knowledge of internal White House planning.” (RELATED: Congress, White House Unlikely To Deliver Phase 4 Stimulus Before Recess, Sources Say)
“It’s not correct,” White House senior communications adviser Ben Williamson told the Daily Caller Friday morning. “A misdirection leak from Democrats.”
Two other administration officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations echoed Williamson’s statement. Both spoke anonymously, as they had not been cleared to publicly discuss the matter.
“I honestly don’t know where they’re getting that from,” one official told Daily Caller. “POTUS has been very vocal on the issue.”
A second official outright dismissed the report and pointed to recent statements made by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — the administration’s lead negotiators on the stimulus — on liability protections.
Meadows and Mnuchin met with Democratic leadership Thursday evening, and the Post noted that Meadows told reporters the point “remains a red line for the leader in my discussions with him earlier today.”
“Certainly, Secretary Mnuchin and I see that as being part of a broader package.”
Meadows further stated at Friday’s White House press briefing that the administration offered four proposals to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, all of which were directed without counteroffers. He added that “Democrats believe that they have all the cards on their side,” and challenged leadership to “get serious about their negotiations.”
To the Post’s credit, Trump outlined during Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing three specific points he wants to see included in the stimulus but omitted liability protections.
Trump stated the upcoming package must contain an extension of unemployment benefits, an extended eviction moratorium and roughly $100 billion in additional funding for schools to safely reopen in the fall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has maintained since April that liability protections would be a redline for any future stimulus packages.
Representatives for Pelosi and Schumer did not respond to the Caller’s requests for comment Friday morning.