AAt the end of the day, Donald Trump signed on Sunday evening what he had called a “shame” on Tuesday – the corona aid package that had been negotiated by Congress and the government for many months. In a whole series of angry tweets, Trump had raised the mood against the $ 900 billion (around 740 billion euros) corona aid package from his home in Mar-a-Lago (Florida) over Christmas.
Even before Christmas, the White House had prepared everything for Trump to sign the 5593-page legislative package: a desk was ready, pens were ready for signing. And Trump? He waited. His central point of criticism: After he had not participated in the negotiations at all, he suddenly asked for a one-off payment of $ 2,000 (around 1700 euros) for almost every American.
In the law, however, only 600 dollars (about 490 euros) – a sum that Trump’s own Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated and celebrated the work for it. Mnuchin praised the law as “fabulous”. And Trump? The president was still angry about a “measly” sum on Saturday. On Sunday, he put his signature on the package that provides for those “measly” 600 euros. The package of “shame” (Trump).
For days, the incumbent President, who has to move out of the White House in three weeks, showed his own Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The party friends in Congress, who had passed the aid package with an unusually broad, non-partisan majority, were also indirectly attacked by Trump.
Trump had followed the negotiations, which had been led by Mnuchin, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and the Democratic spokeswoman in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, completely disinterested.
It was like so often: Trump, who likes to portray himself as a great negotiator, does not even negotiate because he is not interested in details and considers the laborious finding of consensus to be too strenuous. Just as one already has the impression that Trump is actually no longer in power, one ignores his actions on his own behalf (“election fraud”) and pardons from political buddies and relatives.
The damage is great
After the green light from Congress, Trump initially remained silent, bucked, canceled the planned signing, blocked the law, played golf several times and rumbled via Twitter – until he gave in on Sunday evening. What a drama. Trump the dump.
The damage caused by the procrastination and rumbling for days is great. Millions of unemployed have so far received neither the 600 dollar check nor the 300 dollars (around 245 euros) weekly help. Both were promised by Trump’s finance minister for these days. As a result of the Corona crisis and the severe recession, ten million Americans lost their jobs.
“What the president is doing at the moment is incredibly cruel,” said the left Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders on the Sunday before Trump’s 180-degree turnaround: “So many people are doing badly.” Democrats and numerous Republicans had urged Trump to sign. The Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, was stunned by the unpredictability of the president. “I’ve given up on guessing what to do next,” said Hogan.
Most recently, the pressure on Trump had grown, with the threat of a so-called government standstill (“shut down”) on Tuesday. Background: The Corona aid package is linked to a budget bill worth 1.4 trillion dollars (1.15 trillion euros), which is to finance the operation of the federal government until September 2021.
While Trump did not appear publicly on the weekend, the written statement he had sent for his signature on Sunday evening reads like a self-justification. “As President of the United States, it is my responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship caused by the China virus,” it reads. He told Congress that he wanted “less wasteful spending and more money for the American people.” By this, Trump means one-off payments of $ 2,000 per adult and $ 600 per child.
It is unlikely that the Republican Party, which rhetorically always railed against a rampant state, will follow suit. The Republicans have a majority in the Senate. Some Republicans already consider a $ 600 lump sum for socialist devil stuff. The Democrats want the House of Representatives to vote on the $ 2,000 one-off payment requested by Trump this Monday. Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House, wants to show off the Republicans in this way. Do you stand by the slogans of the president, who is already responsible for the largest national debt in the USA? Or are they giving him the cold shoulder?
The president must “immediately urge the Republicans in Congress to end their obstruction,” said Pelosi on Sunday evening. The Democrats wanted to bring the $ 2,000 check to plenary. “Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote that denies the financial plight of families and denies the American people the necessary aid,” says Pelosi, who for weeks postponed the adoption of an aid package for electoral reasons.
After his sudden 180-degree turn on Sunday evening, Trump threatens another defeat on Monday. The House of Representatives wants to vote on Trump’s veto against the defense budget (740 billion dollars, about 610 billion euros). This too had been passed by both chambers of the Congress with a broad, non-partisan consensus.
With a two-thirds majority, both houses of Congress can override Trump’s veto. The Senate, in which the Republicans have a majority, could vote on Tuesday. Trump is angry about the law on the defense budget, for example because it blocks the withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany for the time being. The law is a “gift” for China and Russia. Trump is also opposed to renaming military facilities that are previously dedicated to Confederates from the Civil War.
Should Congress override Trump’s veto, it would be a first in the president’s almost four-year term – and only shortly before the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden on January 20, 2021. These are not glorious days in the late autumn of Donald Trump’s political career.