WASHINGTON — Three weeks before Election Day, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi what millions of Americans were thinking: Why was she refusing a White House offer of $1.8 trillion in COVID-19 relief? “There are millions of Americans who have lost their jobs, they can’t pay the rent, their kids need the food,” Blitzer told Pelosi. He noted that she had written to her caucus that “the president only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day” and asked, “Is that what this is all about, to not allow the president to take credit if there’s a deal that would help millions of Americans right now?”

“No, I don’t care about that,” Pelosi claimed, and repeatedly accused Blitzer of being an “apologist” for Trump throughout the interview. It was a laughable charge, intended to obscure the fact that the truthful answer was yes — that’s exactly what this is all about. Struggling Americans don’t care whose name is on the check. They just need the money. But Pelosi seems to care less about getting them the help they need than stopping Trump from sharing credit for a bipartisan solution. Why else turn down multiple GOP offers for COVID relief? In July, Senate Republicans offered $1.1 trillion, including $300 billion for stimulus checks to Americans, $200 billion to help small businesses, $110 billion for unemployment benefits, and $105 billion in aid to state and local governments. In September, the White House raised the offer to $1.6 trillion. In October, the president increased it further to $1.8 trillion. But Pelosi steadfastly refused, insisting on $2.2 trillion or nothing. Twice, Senate Republicans tried to pass more limited $500 billion bills, but Democrats filibustered both. Why not accept one of these offers? The only logical answer is that any stimulus would have boosted the economy before the election, and Pelosi was willing to drive the economy into a ditch to hurt Trump.

Follow Marc A. Thiessen on Twitter, @marcthiessen.

Marc Thiessen writes a twice-weekly column for The Post on foreign and domestic policy. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

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