President Trump at the White House, Sept. 7. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told reporters at a Labor Day briefing on Monday that he is "taking the high road" by not meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats to negotiate the next coronavirus stimulus package.

Why it matters: Unemployment benefits have expired for millions of Americans, but House Democrats and the White House are no closer to a deal — while nearly one in eight households are struggling to get enough to eat.

What he's saying: "I don't need to meet with them to be turned down," Trump told reporters. "They don't want to make a deal because they think if the country does as badly as possible ... that's good for the Democrats."

  • "I am taking the high road. I'm taking the high road by not seeing them," he added.

Of note: Trump said that the damaging article from The Atlantic's editor-in-chief, which reported that the president "has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members," was a "totally made-up story" and that "only an animal would say a thing like that."

  • He characterized a recent statement from former White House deputy chief of staff Zach Fuentes as a denial of The Atlantic's story, although what Fuentes said is that he "did not hear POTUS call anyone losers when I told him about the weather" and that sources in the article were "conflating stories."

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Oct 18, 2020 - Health

Jake Tapper says White House refused invitations to have COVID-19 experts appear on his show

CNN anchor Jake Tapper said on Sunday the White House declined invitations to have anyone from its coronavirus task force on his show, "State of the Union," including Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx and CDC director Robert Redfield.

Why it matters: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% in a week, and the number of new cases increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., as of Thursday. On Friday, the U.S. reported 70,000 new cases in one day for the first time since July.

Updated Oct 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi sets 48-hour deadline for White House on stimulus talks

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has given the White House a 48-hour deadline to reconcile differences in stimulus negotiations "to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement," a top Pelosi aide tweeted Saturday night.

Driving the news: Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that the 48-hour deadline only applies to being able to get a deal done before the election. She said she is "optimistic" about the talks, but that a true breakthrough "depends on the administration."

California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California will "independently review" all coronavirus vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration before allowing their distribution, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced at a news conference Monday.

Why it matters: The move that comes days after NAID director Anthony Fauci said he had "strong confidence" in FDA-approved vaccines could cast further public doubt that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives, rather than safety and efficacy.