The news was, at once, totally unbelievable and totally predictable. I speak , of course, of word that arrived last night that President Donald Trump is, in yet another irresponsible and immature fit of pique, throwing a last minute monkey wrench into painfully negotiated pandemic relief legislation.
This is from the New York Times:
President Trump on Tuesday evening threatened to derail months of bipartisan work in Congress to deliver $900 billion in coronavirus relief to a country battered by the pandemic, demanding checks to Americans that are more than three times as much as those in the bill, which he called a “disgrace.”
The president, who has been preoccupied with the baseless claim that the election was stolen from him, seized on congressional leaders’ decision to pass the relief bill by combining it with a broader spending plan to fund government operations and the military. That spending plan includes routine provisions like foreign aid and support for Washington institutions like the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian.
But Mr. Trump portrayed such spending items as “wasteful and unnecessary” additions to the coronavirus legislation.
Trump’s action is, as his his wont, utterly destructive and irresponsible.
Of course, the bill is flawed. Unfortunately, that’s what frequently happens in an imperfect, complex and diverse country of 300 million people at a time like the present.
But the bill is also an absolutely essential piece of legislation that will provide critical, if far from adequate, relief to millions of people at a moment of dire emergency. Indeed, the fact that our normally dysfunctional Congress was able to produce any semi-useful legislation in this moment can only be seen as an extremely hopeful sign.
Unfortunately, as is always the case with Trump, his latest action is not about the country or helping its citizenry; it’s about an utterly corrupt and incompetent man extracting revenge in response to the personal affront he took at being rejected by the voters.
The bottom line: One hopes Trump will come to his senses and let the bill advance in order to avoid the pain and suffering that further delay would bring about, but we’re not holding our breath. January 20 cannot come soon enough.