White House aides reportedly stepped in to keep Trump from calling for $2,000 stimulus checks fearing it could torpedo relief talks

  • President Donald Trump was talked out of calling for $2,000 stimulus payments because it could derail fragile relief talks between Republicans and Democrats, The Post reported.
  • Trump had previously demanded a larger relief package than Democrats in the runup to the election.
  • "Right now, I want to see checks — for more money than they're talking about — going to people," he told Fox News in an interview that aired Sunday.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump's advisors talked him out of calling for $2,000 stimulus checks in the next federal rescue package since it could derail the ongoing relief negotiations on Capitol Hill, The Washington Post reported.

The newspaper cited two sources familiar with the events.

The Post reported that Trump held a phone call with allies when he said he wanted stimulus payments to be "at least" $1,200 and perhaps as large as $2,000. Congressional leaders are currently drafting a $900 billion emergency relief package with $600 stimulus payments for Americans, half of the amount distributed in March and April through an earlier pandemic aid package.

Trump was in the midst of outlining his desire when White House officials told him the move would capsize the negotiations between top Republicans and Democrats, which appear likely to slip into the weekend. Republicans are trying to keep the price tag of a relief package under $1 trillion, and larger direct payments could swell the legislation's cost beyond that.

An anonymous source told the Post that "aides were really frantic, saying: 'We can't do this; it will blow up negotiations.'"

Ben Williamson, a White House spokesman, told The Post that Trump supports large relief payments for struggling Americans.

"The President has heard from Americans all over the country who are hurting through no fault of their own, and he's made clear he wants the next round of relief to include stimulus checks at a significant number," he said. "We're working with Congress to settle on an agreement that can pass as soon as possible."

In the run-up to the election, Trump sought a large relief package and suggested at times he could support one bigger than the $2.2 trillion amount that Democrats wanted. But he has been largely quiet on the subject since his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden, though he has indicated recently he still backs large stimulus checks.

"Right now, I want to see checks — for more money than they're talking about — going to people," he told Fox News in an interview that aired Sunday.

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