Trump halts COVID-19 relief talks until after election; stocks slide

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump abandoned COVID-19 relief talks on Tuesday, saying they won’t resume until after the election.

The move came as the chairman of the Federal Reserve said that further fiscal intervention is needed to prevent the economy from spiraling downward.

Trump tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith” and said he’s asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to direct all his focus before the election into confirming his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump tweeted.

The unexpected turn could be a blow to Trump’s reelection prospects and comes as his administration and campaign are in turmoil.

Trump is quarantining in the White House with a case of COVID, and the latest batch of opinion polls shows him significantly behind former Vice President Joe Biden with the election four weeks away.

The collapse also means there won’t be a pre-election batch of $1,200 direct payments to most individuals, which appeared to be the item Trump cared most about as the potential package was taking shape.

Stocks dropped on Wall Street Tuesday after the announcement.

The S&P 500 index slid 1.4% after having been up 0.7% prior to the president’s announcement, which he made on twitter about an hour before the close of trading.

The late-afternoon pullback erased most of the benchmark index’s gains from a market rally a day earlier.

The S&P 500 fell 47.66 points to 3,360.97.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 375.88 points, or 1.3%, to 27,772.76. It had been up by more than 200 points.

The Nasdaq composite lost 177.88 points, or 1.6%, to 11,154.60. The tech-heavy index had been on pace for a 0.5% gain before Trump cut off the stimulus talks.

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