From the statement put out by President-elect Joseph R. Biden on Saturday afternoon, as Donald Trump prepares to allow unemployment benefits to expire for ten million Americans, for reasons that appear to stem solely from the refusal of Republican elected officials to support his attempt to overturn the November 3, 2020 election:
It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority.
This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences. Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits. In just a few days, government funding will expire, putting vital services and paychecks for military personnel at risk. In less than a week, a moratorium on evictions expires, putting millions at risk of being forced from their homes over the holidays. Delay means more small businesses won’t survive this dark winter because they lack access to the lifeline they need, and Americans face further delays in getting the direct payments they deserve as quickly as possible to help deal with the economic devastation caused by COVID-19. And while there is hope with the vaccines, we need funding to be able to distribute and administer them to millions of Americans, including frontline health care workers.
Trump’s claimed excuse for not signing the Bill is that he believes it should contain additional benefits to unemployed workers. However this novel position by Trump was expressed after the bill was negotiated by his own representatives, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and in fact after the Bill was already passed. If Mnuchin and Meadows had permission or authority to negotiate additional benefits from the White House during these negotiations, they would have done so.
Since they did not, the actual motivation for Trump’s refusal to sign the relief legislation can be attributed to his desire to wreak revenge on the Republican Party for failing to back him in his attempts to overturn the November 3, 2020 election.
As reported by Kevin Liptak for CNN on December 24th:
One Republican official said Trump was simply seeking to exact revenge on the Republican Senate leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the number two Republican in the chamber, John Thune, who helped negotiate the package. Both have discouraged efforts to challenge the Electoral College results next month.“The Trump tantrum has nothing to do with check size or spending — he was fully aware of the negotiations carried out in his behalf by (chief of staff Mark) Meadows and (Treasury Secretary Steven) Mnuchin and never said peep,” the official told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “This is about McConnell and Thune acknowledging the inevitable. When it comes to venting rage and seeking revenge vs. millions losing unemployment the day after Christmas and millions losing apartments and millions of small businesses going under, there is no contest: his ego always comes first.”
Trump knew full well that Republican Majority leader Mitch McConnell would never support an increase in benefits to $2000. However, he also knew that McConnell wanted a deal because he believed it was necessary to salvage the prospects of two Republican Senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, currently facing difficult races in the January 5th run-off election in Georgia. The results of those elections could determine control of the Senate under a Biden Presidency.
Trump further confirmed his real reasons for denying millions of Americans the pandemic relief they had every right to expect in a Tweet he emitted on Saturday, castigating McConnell and the Republicans in the U.S. Senate:
If a Democrat Presidential Candidate had an Election Rigged & Stolen, with proof of such acts at a level never seen before, the Democrat Senators would consider it an act of war, and fight to the death. Mitch & the Republicans do NOTHING, just want to let it pass. NO FIGHT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2020
It’s important to keep the focus on the real reason for Trump’s “abdication of responsibility,” as President-elect Biden describes it. It has nothing to do with any feigned interest about Americans’ welfare, and everything to do with the future political interests of Donald Trump.
Not that it matters much to the Americans about to have their benefits cut off on the day after Christmas, during the worst pandemic the country has experienced in over a century.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan speaks to the issue quite forcefully, on Christmas Eve:
A 2020 Christmas Eve message from Rep. Debbie Dingell.
She didn’t stutter.
2-minutes of pure passion… pic.twitter.com/PIsGPecBOv
— Rex Chapman???????? (@RexChapman) December 24, 2020