“Up and until now, she has rationally assumed there was some self-interest on the part of Trump that would lead to a deal,” said former Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who joined Ms. Pelosi that day at the White House in 2008. “If, in fact, that turns out not to be the case, you have a whole new ballgame to think about.”
Though she acknowledges political differences with Mr. Bush, Ms. Pelosi is far more blunt about her disdain for Mr. Trump, with whom she has developed a toxic relationship.
“This president is the biggest failure in our history,” she said on Friday. “I can’t think of anybody worse.”
He appears to return the sentiment, referring again to Ms. Pelosi this week as “Crazy Nancy.”
While she said she has had productive negotiations with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary — so much so that Mr. Mnuchin has felt compelled to privately answer complaints from Republicans that he has given too much — she is more skeptical of Mr. Meadows, who made his name in Congress blowing up bipartisan deals from the right, not constructing them. Talks have been “less efficient” than the discussions that led to the first phases of pandemic relief, she said.
“Mark Meadows is in the room as an enforcer,” she said, adding that she was not sure whether “he’s a clone for the president, or the president’s a clone for him.”
Ms. Pelosi said she also questioned the overall approach of the administration, comparing their negotiating tactics to “Sophie’s Choice,” a film in which a mother must choose which of her children to send to their death.
At one point during one of the negotiations, Mr. Mnuchin had inquired what WIC, a nutritional program specifically for women, infants and children, was, according to a person familiar with the talks.