The most surprising subplot of President Donald Trump’s lame-duck period has been his determined public campaign to deliver $2,000 relief checks to the American people while actively messing with his own party’s chances in the upcoming Georgia Senate runoffs.
On Tuesday afternoon, President Trump found himself in the bizarre position of shaming his own party and taking the moral high ground against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked an effort by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to bring a $2,000 check bill to a vote.
Sen. Bernie Sanders asked McConnell to at least set up a roll call vote to follow the veto override.
— POLITICO (@politico) December 29, 2020
Declaring that Republicans had a “death wish” and reminding them that it was “the right thing to do,” Trump demanded that the Senate approve $2,000 in direct payments “ASAP.”
Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election. Get tough! https://t.co/GMotstu7OI
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2020
His sudden and unprecedented show of benevolence was quickly undermined by his next sentences, which exposed that this is all a ploy to get Democrats to agree to revoke Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which would allow Trump to punish Twitter for tepidly discrediting his conspiracy theories about election fraud.
He also appears to want Congress to authorize investigations into the alleged “voter fraud” that Trump claims stole the election from him. Democrats worry that McConnell may try to poison the well and bundle the checks with the President’s demands in an effort to provoke Democratic defections while mollifying the president.
But Sen. Bernie Sanders may have the best leverage of all. He has vowed to filibuster the movement to overturn Trump’s veto for the NDAA — the President’s first effort to bully Congress into letting him sue Twitter — and keep the Senate in session through the New Years’ holiday.
Our pampered and enormously lazy Senators will certainly not appreciate having to work through the weekend.
Mitch McConnell reaches new depths of stunning depravity and senseless cruelty with every rejected proposal. A staggering one in eight Americans — some 26 million people — report that they “sometimes or often” do not have enough food to eat during the week; 20 million are dependent on unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of December. Nearly 7% of the population is still unemployed; some nine million jobs have been lost since the start of the crisis while the economy is recovering them half as fast as it was projected to.
It is extremely on-brand for Trump to bundle the one good thing he’s ever wanted to do for the American people to be bundled with his demands for petty vengeance, but if we have to give in, so be it. $2,000 would be a literally life-changing amount of money for millions of people and their families.
If his constant public trashing of McConnell and Senate Republicans leads to a surprise upset victory for the Democratic Party in the Georgia runoffs, by all means, let him have his stupid investigations to nowhere.