Donald Trump only has a few weeks left as President of the United States, but that still leaves plenty of time to wreak havoc. He saved one of his cruelest acts for his final month: He torpedoed a much-needed COVID-19 relief bill, resulting in millions of Americans losing their unemployment insurance the day after Christmas. On Sunday night he had one of his unpredictable changes of heart: As per The New York Times, he belatedly signed the bill. But not everyone was ready to congratulate him on doing the right thing after some damage was already done.
The relief bill will provide $900 billion in relief — down significantly from the $2.3 trillion package signed in late March. It’s only the second such package since the pandemic took over America. Ever since, Democratic lawmakers have struggled to get their Republican counterparts — most prominently Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — to pass a second wave of governmental aid, with no luck. Only with the threat of millions being pushed into poverty — and a hotly contested Senate runoff in Georgia in early January that could see the Senate flipped blue — did Republicans budge on certain key items.
But it was all for naught. On Tuesday, Trump uploaded a video to Twitter and Facebook in which he railed against the bill, demanding that the skimpy $600 to be sent to most Americans be inflated to a far more helpful $2,000. It seemed like a middle finger to Republican congresspeople, who he’s accused of largely not helping him baselessly overturn the election he lost. But Republicans didn’t budge. And nor did Trump.
And so on Christmas Day, millions of Americans lost their unemployment insurance, their lives thrown further into question. Meanwhile, Trump golfed.
Now those citizens will have their unemployment restored — but only after losing a week of money, during the holidays, during a pandemic.
People on social media were quick to point out that Trump deserves little praise for being so slow.
Except Trump didn’t do it “as quickly as possible” at all, and as a result people are losing out on a week of unemployment benefits for no reason. What an absurd statement from McConnell. https://t.co/xSi5dYOfgA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 28, 2020
President Trump has finally signed the coronavirus relief bill — 5 days after calling it a “disgrace” and less than 24 hours after allowing 12 million + Americans to lose unemployment benefits.
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) December 28, 2020
This is just infuriating.
If Trump signs this bill now, then he just caused tens of millions of Americans unnecessary struggle with his foolish delay.
Not only did he throw their holiday into disarray and stress, he robbed them of a week of enhanced unemployment checks. Smfh. https://t.co/i5ZrRQ997o
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) December 28, 2020
Some questioned the strategy of making Republicans look heartless during the holidays, with a key race on the horizon.
So the ultimate effect of Trump waffling on the coronavirus and omnibus bill is that Democrats clarified that it was Republicans who blocked $2,000 checks, not Democrats, and millions of people lost unemployment benefits for a week.
Really can't overstate how needless this was.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) December 28, 2020
Some flat-out called Trump useless.
He is the most useless man.
Trump Signs Pandemic Relief Bill After Unemployment Aid Lapses https://t.co/SOQ08aOsFy
— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) December 28, 2020
And some reminded us that, barring some surreal last minute plot twist, in less than a month Trump is out of a job. But he can always go on unemployment.
Never forget, his tantrums have real life consequences for millions Americans.
Since UI expired Saturday, this delay will almost certainly postpone state unemployment payouts.
I am so glad his days of inflicting pain are coming to an end. https://t.co/DBPtCRJmGw
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 28, 2020
(Via The New York Times)