Nate Jackson / Dec. 23, 2020

The President’s Populist Plea on COVID Relief

Donald Trump hammered the latest bill for waste, while demanding more for American families.

Just yesterday, we knocked Congress for its bipartisan spendthrift ways with COVID relief and the omnibus spending bill for 2021. After the combined behemoth passed both houses with veto-proof majorities, President Donald Trump likewise hammered the bill for its inclusion of wasteful and totally non-COVID spending. While demanding “wasteful and unnecessary items” be removed, he also demanded even more spending for American families. He wants it known that he is the real “man of the people” and that someone in Washington is fighting for Americans.

“Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left-wing agenda and influence the election,” Trump recalled, even borrowing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favorite word: cruel. “Then, a few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people. It’s taken forever. However, the bill they are planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace.”

There are “more than 5,000 pages in this bill, which nobody in Congress has read because of its length and complexity,” he said. “It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID.”

He then highlighted a litany of provisions — albeit from the $1.4 trillion omnibus, not the $900 billion COVID relief — that would make any red-blooded American angry. Money for the Egyptian military to buy Russian equipment, for “democracy and gender programs in Pakistan,” for reef fish and Asian carp, for FBI construction projects, and on and on.

Worse, Trump noted, “The bill also allows stimulus checks for the family members of illegal aliens, allowing them to get up to $1,800 each. This is far more than the Americans are given.”

He should have mentioned all the states, many of them blue, that are getting bailouts despite rolling in revenue, all while once again tightening lockdowns.

“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it,” the president said. “It wasn’t their fault; it was China’s fault, not their fault.”

“I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump concluded. “I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package.”

“And maybe that administration will be me,” he added, “and we’ll get it done.”

Pelosi and her pal Chuck Schumer immediately jumped on the bandwagon. She declared, “At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!”

Schumer added, “We spent months trying to secure $2000 checks but Republicans blocked it. … Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again.”

Perhaps Trump’s last-minute demands didn’t happen without the knowledge of key members of Congress. He is, however, known for erratic negotiations, and he’s apparently throwing Republicans under the bus — particularly Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who supported the package and face critical runoffs in two weeks. Ultimately, it’s highly unlikely that Congress will remove a single item; if anything, it will only add spending. So, what’s Trump’s strategy?

Maybe it’s as simple as reminding members of Congress that they’re supposed to represent the American people, and to let the people know that gargantuan and unread bills passed in the dead of night don’t put their interests first.

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