How President Grinch Almost Stole Christmas For Struggling Americans
Donald Trump, the worst person who ever lived, decided to try to blow up the $900 billion stimulus package Congress passed last week. Like the villain in a holiday Hallmark movie, Trump declared just a couple days before Christmas that the bill was doo-doo and he might not sign it at all. He claimed this was because he wanted $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans instead of $600, which miserly members of his own party opposed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had negotiated this bill for months with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who everyone assumed was speaking on Trump's behalf. (Of course, Mnuchin uses complete sentences and isn't completely delusional, so Pelosi should've known something was up.) Mnuchin never mentioned that Trump supported $2,000 checks nor did Trump bother pushing the House and especially Senate Republicans to support them.
But Trump doesn't give a damn about struggling Americans. He's pissed off that Senate Republican leaders, specifically majority leader Mitch McConnell, have acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden whooped Trump seven ways to Sunday. He's also petty enough to throw a wrench into the Georgia Senate runoff elections. The only reason McConnell agreed to any stimulus bill was because Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were “getting hammered" over Congress's failure to act (and by “Congress," we mean the Republican-controlled Senate).
Perdue had even released ads boasting about the $600 stimulus checks, which he claimed his Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff, who isn't a member of Congress, “obstructed" while he “delivered." Now Perdue looks like even more of an asshole than usual.
Trump told Charlie Rose in 1992 that he "loves getting even" with anyone who's not sufficiently loyal to him. We don't care if Trump screws McConnell and Perdue, but his despicable actions are affecting real people.
As CNN reports:
Because Trump refused to sign the bill -- that his own aides helped write -- by Saturday night, millions of Americans who were facing their last [unemployment] payment are left without certainty of if or when they'll receive more assistance. An estimated 12 million Americans who have been laid off are set to receive their final unemployment payment for the week ending this weekend, according to The Century Foundation. The Covid-19 relief legislation that Trump refuse[d] to sign would extend the number of weeks people can stay on two key pandemic unemployment programs and increase weekly benefits by $300 for all through mid-March.
Trump ghosted on Congress after his diva declaration Tuesday night. Since then he's golfed and rage-tweeted while struggling Americans considered how much of their plasma they could sell to make rent.
Dig this asshole's schedule the past few days.
Looks like this defensive line about how Trump really is working hard even though he has nothing on his public sche… https://t.co/pJQTKvu2Px— Peter Baker (@Peter Baker)1608953499.0
It was like Trump had America on hold: “Your stimulus is important to us. Please remain on the line and the next available president will address your looming poverty."
Trump hasn't been working tirelessly ... or at all. He spent Christmas Day golfing with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Like the version of hell in Sartre's No Exit, it's hard to tell who is torturing whom here.
Graham golfed with President Trump today, and here suggests the President is dug in on boosting direct payments to… https://t.co/ubKts2TolX— Garrett Haake (@Garrett Haake)1608945102.0
President Lame Duck had months to push for more generous stimulus checks. Giving people more money certainly wouldn't have hurt his chances in the election, and it was certainly a more pressing issue for the American people than the Republicans' drive-by confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Trump's antics left Republicans scrambling like rats in a maze of their own making. Tennessee GOP Rep. John Rose tried to pin the blame on Pelosi.
"Unfortunately we see Speaker Pelosi continuing to play political games," Rose told Fox News on Sunday morning after he was asked about the effort to give out $2,000 in direct payments. "There are people all over this country that need targeted, timely, temporary relief to help with response to the pandemic and the imposed shutdowns across the country," the GOP congressman said.
Pelosi literally tried to save the bill by holding a vote for the stimulus change that Trump demanded. Republicans are the ones who blocked it, and yes, Democrats are going to remind voters of this now and forever.
The COVID-19 stimulus package was attached to an overall spending bill that would keep the government running, so on Sunday it looked like we were headed for another Trump shutdown. But wait! Late Sunday, Trump sent this vague tweet.
Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1609111263.0
And then he finally signed the damn thing Sunday night, avoiding a government shutdown and accomplishing literally nothing. After teasing desperate people with visions of $2,000 stimulus checks, he got bored and now after a fraught few days that included fucking Christmas Day, Americans can rejoice over receiving the $600 checks Trump had earlier dismissed as “measly."
By the way, he attached a signing statement to it. It is so utterly batshit that it deserves its own blog post, and Wonkette will be serving that right up to you later this morning!
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).