Donald Trump’s dark mood is worsening. He has been fired as president, and soon will be evicted from the White House. So he’s is using his last remaining days in office to settle scores, even if those left to suffer have nothing to do with this wounded ego.
As unemployment benefits expired for millions of Americans, the president, who spent Christmas playing golf in Florida, continues to block a $900bn pandemic relief bill that would extend them.
Furious at Senate Republicans for acknowledging he lost to President-elect Joe Biden, Trump is hell-bent in rejecting the stimulus package they negotiated with Democrats and his own administration, leaving jobless benefits to lapse for millions of Americans and embarrassing his one-time political allies.
The package, which Congress passed with bipartisan support on Monday after months of negotiations, would keep unemployment benefits in place until March and expand state benefits by $300 a week – as well as extending an evictions moratorium, providing federal loans to small businesses and $600 direct payments to many Americans.
But without Trump’s signature, the entire package – set to be the second biggest in US history – is stalled and the US government now faces a shutdown on Tuesday.
Trump claims to be ‘working tirelessly’ but leaves Covid relief in disarray.
Trump this weekend continued to demand direct payment checks be increased from $600 to $2,000 — a figure Democrats support but that came a day after the bill passed and Congress left town, leaving jobless Americans in limbo.
“I simply want to get our great people $2,000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork’”, he tweeted on Saturday morning.
His refusal thus far to sign the stimulus package has been viewed by some Republican officials as doing just that, jabbing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as stingy for not providing adequate checks to Americans, even though Trump’s own negotiators initially proposed the $600 checks during talks.
“The reason it blindsided everybody is because they thought the President was involved when it was obvious he was sleeping on the job when it came to these negotiations,” Rep. Denver Riggleman, a Virginia Republican not returning to Congress, told CNN.
“That’s what happens when you get too wrapped up in an election you already lost,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump is hunkered down in his club or golf course, refraining from inviting the press and did not comment on the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville though he was reportedly briefed on it.