Saturday, May 21

Trump’s complaints leave those in need in limbo

(CNN) — President Donald Trump’s bad mood worsens and the country suffers from his wrath.

Furious with Republican Senate leaders for acknowledge that he lost Before President-elect Joe Biden, Trump has so far rejected the coronavirus stimulus package they negotiated with Democrats and his own administration, leaving millions of Americans lose the benefits out of unemployment and shaming his former political allies.

Convinced that social media companies helped manipulate the elections against him, vetoed a project defense law unrelated because it did not override those companies’ liability protections.

Insisting that his own government works against him by ignoring the false allegations of voter fraud, he puts on hold the possibility of shutting it down while he enjoys a winter vacation in South Florida.

And eager to help discredit investigations into his own behavior and that of his allies, he uses his broad clemency powers to erase the convictions handed down by special counsel Robert Mueller, undermining a system of law and order in the process.

Driven by complaints for a long time, Trump appears to ensure that no grudge goes unpunished before leaving office. He uses his remaining days as president to settle scores, even if those left to suffer have nothing to do with his baroque conspiracies or his wounded ego.

Because Trump refused to sign the bill – which his own aides helped draft – on Saturday night, million americans facing their last payment are not sure if or when they will get more help. An estimated 12 million Americans who have been laid off will receive their final unemployment pay for the week ending this weekend, according to The Century Foundation. The covid-19 relief legislation that Trump refuses to sign would extend the number of weeks people can stay in two key pandemic unemployment programs and increase weekly benefits by $ 300 for everyone through mid-March.

Trump this weekend continued to demand that direct paychecks be increased from US $ 600 to US $ 2,000, a figure that Democrats support, but that came a day after the bill was passed and Congress left town, leaving unemployed Americans in limbo.

The fact that Trump did not make his demands known in advance suggests that he paid little attention to how the legislation was progressing and that the lines of communication with Republicans Senate officials on Capitol Hill have been demoted after they recognized Biden’s victory.

“It was unclear if the president was really paying attention because he had a lot of other things at stake,” Rep. Don Beyer, D-Virginia, said Saturday on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

Those other things have been largely focused on his failed attempts to reverse the election, which have gained little traction. Initially supporting Trump’s efforts to challenge the results in court, Senate Republican leaders have moved primarily to congratulate Biden on his victory, enraging Trump and sending him looking for ways to get revenge.

His refusal so far to sign the stimulus package has been viewed by at least some Republican officials as something that does just that, criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as stingy for not providing adequate checks to Americans, to even though Trump’s own negotiators initially proposed the $ 600 checks during negotiations.

On Saturday, Trump lashed out at McConnell and wrote on Twitter that Senate Republicans are “doing NOTHING” to help bolster his baseless fraud allegations. He referred to the Senate Majority Leader simply as “Mitch” and did little to counter the impression that his obsession with elections tarnishes any real attempt to govern. In another message on that platform, he made a reference to the large protests expected in Washington on January 6 around the formal ratification in Congress of Biden’s electoral victory, an event that Trump is convinced can be stopped. with the help of the Conservatives and his own vice president.

Even Republicans are growing frustrated.

“The reason it surprised everyone is because they thought the president was involved when it was obvious that he was sleeping at work at the time of these negotiations,” said Rep. Denver Riggleman, a Republican from Virginia not returning to Congress, in ” Newsroom ”from CNN».

“That’s what happens when you get too wrapped up in an election you’ve already lost,” he said.

Trump spreads the blame

Donald Trump has seemed less focused on the difficulties of Americans than on his own perceived problems. Even on a holiday when the victims of the pandemic weighed on Americans’ ability to celebrate, he was silent. On Saturday, the country reached a grim milestone: 1 in 1,000 Americans has died from Covid-19 since the nation’s first reported infection in late January.

But he spent the morning issuing complaints about entities that refused to consider his efforts to override the election results, a list that now encompasses all three branches of government.

The Supreme Court, which earlier this month declined to hear Trump’s case, “has been totally incompetent and weak,” the president declared on Twitter. He complained that his own administration’s law enforcement agencies “should be ashamed” for not accepting his demands to investigate widespread nonexistent electoral fraud, warning them that “history will remember.”

And he went on to criticize Senate Republicans for not “standing up and fighting for the presidency, as the Democrats would if they really won.”

Trump has nowhere mentioned the possibility of a government shutdown, which now unexpectedly hangs over the holiday period after he refused to sign the funding bill that was attached to the coronavirus aid package.

In the unexpected video he recorded rejecting the package last week, Trump complained about funding levels that are almost identical to what he himself proposed in his budget this year. When asked about that fact this week at his club, Trump attributed the figures, particularly to foreign aid, to the “deep state,” according to a person familiar with the talks, one of the weak arguments persisting during his time in office. .

It is the “deep state” that Trump has also blamed for investigations into him and his associates, efforts he is now trying to undermine using his all-encompassing powers of clemency.

Power of forgiveness

So far Trump has forgiven four associates – including his friend Roger Stone and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort – who were removed from office over the Mueller probe, which Trump has complained about was an illegal effort to delegitimize his presidency.

His other pardons from last week, including four Blackwater security guards Convicted of massacring civilians in Iraq, they also appear to be designed to undermine a justice system that Trump believes has failed him. The damage to both those who investigated and prosecuted the cases, and to those who risked everything to testify in them, is great.

It’s overwhelming. There’s no other way to describe it, ”said Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who has been targeted by Trump and is now a CNN contributor, highlighting the Blackwater case in particular.

“It is an incredibly huge effort to convince all these Iraqi civilians, who are putting themselves in great danger by coming to the United States and testifying, to come here, to take care of them while they are here,” he said. “Taking all that work, significant as it was, and erasing it in one fell swoop for men who had essentially been convicted of war crimes, is incredibly daunting. It is overwhelming. That’s the only way to describe it.

Yet in Trump’s view, it is he who has been the victim of widespread corruption and criminality, a stance that now drives much of his actions as his term wanes.

Trump complains relentlessly about the Section 230, a law that protects Internet companies from liability for what is posted on their websites. Trump has alleged that companies like Twitter are part of a Democratic clique because they label their fake tweets as disinformation, including multiple times on Saturday.

During a round of golf with Senator Lindsey Graham on Christmas Day, Trump continued to voice his insistence that Section 230 be repealed.

Last week, the president vetoed the defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in part because it didn’t strip tech companies of those protections. The measure established what could be the first override of his presidency’s veto, which would pit members of his own party against him.

However, if the NDAA is not signed into law, those who feel the effects would not be disloyal Republicans. Instead, it would be U.S. troops and their families who are being denied the salary increases, risk benefit, and parental leave that are included in the bill, as well as new benefits for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange. and construction projects on military bases.

Like his rejection of the stimulus, the measure sets a loyalty test for Republicans, who for four years have mostly been unwilling to break with their party leader.

“There will definitely be those who vote with the president after the fact. A lot of this has to do with your base, your fundraising, or your threats. I think they are a little afraid to stand up right now, “said Riggleman, a former Air Force intelligence official who lost the Republican nomination in his district this year after officiating a same-sex wedding.

“Many of us are called traitors, either because we override the veto on the NDAA or we want to pass a bill for the covid, or that the appropriations are approved, or if we want to stop this ridiculous“ stop the theft ”nonsense Riggleman stated.

“A lot of this is based on the insanity of conspiracy theories and the insanity of misinformation, and I think we need to stand up and stop this nonsense as quickly as possible. It’s just out of control right now.

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