In about-face, Trump seeks to salvage parts of virus aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Wednesday tried to salvage its favorite items lost in the rubble of COVID-19 relief talks that President Donald Trump blew up, with his administration pressing for $1,200 stimulus checks and a new wave of aid for airlines and other businesses hard hit by the pandemic.

In a barrage of tweets, Trump pressed for passage of these chunks of assistance, an about-face from his abrupt and puzzling move on Tuesday afternoon to abandon talks with a longtime rival, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The California Democrat has rejected such piecemeal entreaties all along.

Trump’s tweets amounted to him demanding his way in negotiations that he himself had ended.

He called on Congress to send him a “Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200)” — a reference to a preelection batch of direct payments to most Americans that had been a central piece of negotiations between Pelosi and the White House.

“I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” Trump said on Twitter Tuesday evening. He also urged Congress to immediately approve $25 billion for airlines and $135 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses.

The stock market fell precipitously after Trump pulled the plug on the talks but was recovering in morning trading Wednesday after he floated the idea of piecemeal aid.

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