President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have officially gone a full year without speaking to one another. According to The Hill, Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the last time they spoke directly, with all conversations since then having taken place via White House intermediaries, such as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Pelosi and Trump have not had an extended, face-to-face conversation since Oct. 16, 2019, when they met during a sit-down meeting at the White House regarding the president's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria. That conversation had ended with the two sides unable to agree on whether Trump called Pelosi a "third rate" or "third-grade" politician, highlighting the dysfunction and discord between the two. After that meeting, Pelosi had notably told reporters, "we have to pray for his health." The duo was last in the same room together in early February at the National Prayer Breakfast, where Trump had taken a dig at Pelosi, who was sitting nearby when he said he doesn't like people "who say 'I pray for you' when they know that's not so."
Addressing the lapse in their conversations in September amid ongoing stimulus relief negotiations, Pelosi told Craig Melvin that she feels speaking directly with the president would not be a "good use of time." Instead, she said that she prefers to speak with "his representatives," whom the president "says that they speak for him." Again citing reasons for not speaking with Trump himself, she said that her "experience with the president has been that it hasn't been on the level," adding that Trump will "say something and then it doesn't really happen," and so, "in the interest of time, we'll work with who he sends over."
Trump, meanwhile, when addressing stimulus relief talks last month, defended not speaking to Pelosi or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by claiming that he was "taking the high road." He said, "I know Pelosi, I know Schumer very well. They don't want to make a deal because they think it's good for politics if they don't make a deal. I'm taking the high road by not seeing them. That's the high road."
Although it is not unusual for presidents and congressional leaders of different parties to clash publicly, they typically remain on speaking terms. Several lawmakers believe that the animosity that has led to the collapse in their talks is "a sad commentary on the circumstances of our governance" and the partisanship in the Trump era. Reflecting on the lack of talks between the president and Pelosi, Rep. Dean Phillips said "the more that politics becomes kind of a brutal sport rather than a public service, the more trouble we're going to be in. We're seeing the evidence of that right now."