The latest proposal from Trump ally and South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is to… wait for it… cut unemployment benefits amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak of the deadly virus has forced millions of people out of work amidst social distancing measures meant to stem the spread, but during an appearance on Fox & Friends this week, Graham seemed most concerned with some vague notion of people getting supposed incentives not to return to work at all because their unemployment benefits were so high. How dare authorities try and keep people from starving when they’re not even allowed to go to work in the first place, right Lindsey?
He told the hosts:
‘Here’s the problem. The unemployment benefits in South Carolina are $23 an hour to be unemployed. You’ve got a lot of small businesses trying to keep their employees on the payroll paying $16 and $17 an hour. One program is undercutting the other. We’ve got to get that fixed.’
Graham actually threatened to vote against the most recent Coronavirus relief funding package when it came up in the Senate because of similar concerns. He was willing to work to derail crucial benefits for millions of Americans in the name of taking support for those out of work down just a few notches in order to what, protect production?
Is Graham aware that prioritizing some vague notion of big business ignores the millions of Americans suffering right now? In the last few weeks or so alone, some 16 million new unemployment claims have been filed around the country. 16 million! The figure dwarfs every previous recorded unemployment claim burst by a longshot.
Besides his gross ignorance of the actual suffering of the Americans that he seems so willing to ignore, Graham also displayed a profound ignorance of the actual facts of the government’s Coronavirus response thus far.
He laughably insisted:
‘The president has made hard calls well and we’re going to be well below the 100,000 minimum expected [deaths]. And it’s due to his leadership and the American people working together… People are dying right now and this president is doing everything humanly possible to work with anybody that will work with him. Do you know when impeachment ended? February 6th we voted to acquit the president and Democratic leaders who are criticizing the president now wanted to extend the trial for weeks to call more witnesses. You’ve got to remember the Democratic Party on February 6th was asking the Senate to stay in session to get more witnesses! These are the people who are criticizing him.’
He claimed that Trump took the virus seriously from the beginning and has been working to build bridges across government to get a response in place. However, down in a pesky thing called reality, Trump spent weeks dismissing the virus’s threat and has most recently occupied himself with winding himself up into a rage against his political opponents.
This Tuesday, he tweeted:
‘Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!’
Are these unhinged ramblings of a conspiratorial, wannabe dictator what Graham was referring to as his supposed great work?
Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
All the while — since before impeachment proceedings concluded — Democrats have been advocating for comprehensive response efforts like emergency response funding.