Trump Goes Rogue, ‘Thank You Very Much’

Donald Trump went rogue on Tuesday night.

In a video message posted to Twitter, the president (for another four weeks) asked Congress to amend the 5,593-page government funding bill and virus relief package, citing what he called “unnecessary components.”

“Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left-wing agenda,” Trump began, speaking from a lectern positioned in front of some Christmas decor.


That is, of course, not true. House Democrats passed a $3.4 trillion relief bill in May, and Mitch McConnell refused to consider it. Later, in September, McConnell attempted to move forward with a “targeted” bill worth somewhere between $500 billion and $700 billion, an effort Democrats generally derided as callous and disingenuous. In October, Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin came close to an agreement on a $1.8 trillion package, but for all the press those negotiations received, McConnell was never on board. The Senate was busy with Amy Coney Barrett, and even if they weren’t, McConnell made it clear the GOP wouldn’t countenance legislation with a price tag that high.

In any case, Trump on Tuesday evening claimed the new bill is “much different than anticipated.” He called it a “disgrace.”

Crucially, it wasn’t entirely clear from Trump’s four-minute, irritable complaint, that he understood the difference between the spending bill (which absolutely must pass) and the attached stimulus legislation.

“It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID,” Trump said, after complaining about the length of the text. He then cited foreign aid and what he insisted was other “wasteful” spending, again without making it clear that he was fully apprised of the extent to which there are effectively two pieces of legislation involved, only one of which is the COVID relief package.

Ultimately, Trump demanded a tripling (and then some) of stimulus checks to $2,000 per person and $4,000 per couple. “Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people, who need it,” he remarked. The Squad was ready:

Trump posted the video around the same time the White House issued a wave of pardons (for Rep. Duncan Hunter, former Rep. Chris Collins, George Papadopoulos, Alex van der Zwaan, Steve Stockman, Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard, among others).

One assumes $2,000 checks instead of $600 checks will be a non-starter among some GOP lawmakers, and you can be absolutely sure that everyone on Capitol Hill picked up on Trump’s apparent inability to differentiate between the stimulus package and the broader spending bill.

It would be welcome news to American families if direct payments were more than tripled, but that seemed far from a sure bet.

Additionally, it wasn’t immediately clear what Trump was trying to accomplish on Tuesday night. Maybe it was some kind of three-dimensional chess move aimed at the Georgia runoffs. If it were feasible to suggest the outgoing president was attempting to do the right thing even though he’ll be departing the White House in a matter of weeks, I’d do so. But you’ll forgive me for saying that seems unrealistic.

In fact, Trump indicated he still hasn’t accepted the results of the election. “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 said. “Thank you very much.”


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18 thoughts on “Trump Goes Rogue, ‘Thank You Very Much’

  1. Trump will sign the bill into law… eventually. His grandstanding was motivated by attention-seeking and the desire to go on the record as being far more munificent than Congress.

  2. I will consider it a great success if martial law is not declared in next few weeks. This populism appeal and muddying the waters fits a setup to this scenario very well. I will be staying in most of this time just in case some of his supporters decide to mobilize.

    1. The declaration of martial law is a potential concern. However, right wing militias and armed Trump supporters wouldn’t qualify for such and I don’t believe that Trump would be able to get the military, regular or National Guard, to deploy.

  3. Merry Christmas from Uncle Donald. Turmoil under the tree. Nobody is allowed to feel good when he feels bad.
    Can anyone imagine if any Republicans on the State level caved to him mere weeks ago?

    1. I love it absolutely.

      Ossoff jumped ahead of Perdue and endorsed the President’s idea last night. Perdue now forced to play catch up or break with Trump. Well played, sir.

  4. Funny. All the provisions is how money gets into the economy.

    So what, money goes to Egypt and others. Reef fish. Money into the economy. So what. It’s been that way for decades. Just shovel out the dollars. Fill the hole, for crying out loud.

    All said, please send it back for amendment. I want $10,000 per family. Send me my check. I want to buy some more XLE.

    This is America. hahahaha. What a joke of a government. We are watching the world’s richest country ever, ever, failing, and in real time. We’ve reach the stage of terminal decline.

    If only Chalmers Johnson could see us now.

  5. I know several very normal, mainstream Americans who have been researching their ancestry, and that of their spouses, looking to see if they can claim citizenship of another country. “What country could I move to?” is now a serious topic for discussion, not a joke anymore. We have all been wondering if we would relive 1933 this year. The fear was 1933 Germany. The hope was 1933 America, with the beginning of the New Deal. There is still hope that we can turn a corner in the next few months. And I still wonder if it’s possible for Trump to overplay his hand and do something so ridiculous that the remaining “principled” Republicans can rally together and disavow Trumpism–but I’m not sure that’s possible.

    1. It’s not. B/C Trumpism proves that, as this point in time, “principled republicanism” (small c conservatism) does not have a real constituency that would allow a party to build up a base.

      It’s either soft fascism or the Dems.

      Dems are actually quite diverse – you got your middle of the road, quite conservative guys like Biden or Obama or Clinton and you got your more progressive guys like AOC or Bernie and you got your left wing crazies like Noam Chomsky (in politics, not talking about his contributions to linguistics).

  6. “The common man’s friend” preparing for the 2024 election. With a bit of anti-aid and anti- science thrown in. Well done!

    As a few have noted above, a final, very explicit reminder that populism is not always the same as conservatism. I wonder what many of his major financial backers now think of the genie they helped unleash.

  7. Relief checks should have been targeted to people in need. Sending checks to people who retained their jobs and worked from home during the pandemic supplements their income and they will outbid people who lost their jobs for a reduced supply of goods.

    1. There is definitely a need to target those hardest hit… but let us not forget that the bottom 90% of the country was buried in debt from the GFC and basically never dug out on top of the lack of wage growth for the past 50 years, rising health care, education and housing costs. We’ve been tilting at supply side economics for generations and the latest studies basically confirm what everyone paying attention already knew… they did nothing for the average American but impoverish them.

      I can think of worse things to do than use the virus as an excuse to implement policies that provide some sort of relief to the those buried in debt but still working. We of course are largely doing “worse things”.

  8. It’s amazing how quickly journalists and Trump jumped in to criticize foreign aid and “pork” as being part of the Covid-19 relief bill, confusing the 2 bills as a single relief bill. Forex Live even lambasted the budget for a new submarine for being treated as relief. It’s amazing how many “opinionistas” initially appearing on various channels, including Bloomberg and CNBC failed to distinguish the difference between the 2 bills.

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