Donald Trump didn’t really say why he blew up the meticulously negotiated $900 billion stimulus bill, throwing Washington into chaos and screwing over millions of people who are simply trying to survive the winter. But since this is Trump, you can be certain the motive was both gobsmackingly petty and monumentally self-serving.
Oh, and you’d be right! Weird, huh?
As the $900 billion stimulus package moved through Congress, Trump grew increasingly upset at media coverage that made him out to be largely sidelined in negotiations, two people briefed by White House officials said. The president has not called congressional Democratic leaders in more than a year. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a longtime foe of Trump who voted to impeach him, was widely credited in most press accounts as crucial for breaking the months-long logjam over federal aid.
One friend of mine has frequently mused that Time magazine could have easily scuttled the careers of any one of Trump’s most egregious aides by putting them on the cover and declaring them the real brains behind the operation. We didn’t have to endure four years of Stephen Miller’s insensate cruelty. One splashy photo spread back in, say, March 2017 would have likely ended his career and instantly transformed him from White senior adviser for policy to just another dude who spent three woebegone weeks as Bob Guccione’s full-time chest squeegee-er.
Because that’s just how awful and insecure Trump is. Credit given to someone who works for him is credit he doesn’t get, and he needs ALL the credit ALL the time. It’s just who he is.
But let’s not dismiss the possibility of a revenge motive. Because that’s also who he is. In spades.
One day before Trump’s video was released, [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin called the relief package “fabulous” in an interview with CNBC. Mnuchin stressed that the administration would send payments of as much as $2,400 to millions of American households as early as this week. It would have amounted to one of the largest federal cash payment transfers in history outside the Cares Act in March.
Instead, Trump decided to risk torpedoing the effort while raging against congressional Republicans on Twitter for not supporting his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has also expressed anger at congressional Democrats for not agreeing to a stimulus package before the presidential election.
Do I have to point out yet again that House Democrats passed a far-more-generous stimulus bill in FUCKING MAY? No? Okay.
Of course, Trump has saved his cruelest cut for one of his most loyal soldiers, Stephen “Mental Munchkin” Mnuchin, because Trump is a pile of shit on a pile of garbage on a turtle’s back on several elephants on yet another pile of shit — and after that, it’s piles of shit all the way down.
Trump blew up the deal six hours after Mnuchin, who negotiated the bill and had told members of Congress that Trump would sign it, tweeted congratulations to congressional leaders and added an obligatory (and apparently undeserved) thank-you to Trump for his “leadership.”
The Post’s sources said Mnuchin was “blindsided” by Trump’s video demanding $2,000 stimulus checks. But maybe he shouldn’t have been.
During one Dec. 15 meeting, Pelosi repeatedly tried pressing Mnuchin about the president’s position on direct payments. Attending the meeting were the four major congressional leaders — Pelosi; McConnell (R-Ky.); Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.); and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — with Mnuchin calling into a speaker phone located in the middle of Pelosi’s conference room.Pelosi asked Mnuchin four separate times to explain the president’s position, but Mnuchin demurred, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. According to those people, Pelosi grew frustrated and at one point exclaimed: “Come on, Steven!”
Of course, after improbably surviving four years with Donald Trump as his boss, Mnuchin learned all you really need to know about the pr*sident. He doesn’t give a damn about anyone, and for him, loyalty is a one-way street … complete with lots of roadkill.
“Loyalty and assistance to President Trump generally gets rewarded with humiliation. This is how it ends for a lot of people who work for the guy,” said Brian Riedl, a conservative policy expert at the Manhattan Institute, a right-leaning think tank. “Secretary Mnuchin has been completely embarrassed.”
Well, Mnuchin did agree to work for the Trump administration, which is prima facie embarrassing, so I’d say that horse left the barn a long time ago and is currently dry-humping a hapless ranch hand into grim oblivion.