Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of almost 40,000 Americans and counting, President Donald Trump has largely occupied himself with winding himself up into a rage against his political opponents, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who he referred to as an “incompetent political hack” in a recent Twitter freakout posted near midnight. This weekend on ABC’s This Week, Pelosi responded, insisting that she has better things to do than focus on what the president happens to be tweeting, which constitutes a stinging indictment of the meaningless pettiness of the president’s behavior, even while Americans suffer and die in large numbers.
Asked about the president’s latest attacks on her, Pelosi says on ABC: “I don’t pay that much attention to the president’s tweets against me. As I’ve said, he’s a poor leader. He’s always trying to avoid responsibility and assign blame.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 19, 2020
Pelosi told host George Stephanopoulos:
‘Frankly, I don’t pay that much attention to the president’s tweets against me. As I’ve said, he’s a poor leader. He’s always trying to avoid responsibility and assign blame. But putting that aside, because we have to put that aside — what we really need now as we go forward with this interim package — of course, we all support the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program, we helped shape it in a bipartisan way. But we want to make sure it’s reaching all of America’s small businesses, and we also want to make sure that it’s operating in a community where our police and fire, our health care workers, our doctors, nurses, our teachers are being compensated for and not fired. And that’s why we’re asking for the additional funds in the package.’
NEW: Speaker Nancy Pelosi responds as President Trump ramps up attacks against her: “Frankly, I don’t pay that much attention to the president’s tweets against me. As I’ve said, he’s a poor leader. He’s always trying to avoid responsibility.” https://t.co/PYRdRpKqJS pic.twitter.com/ccnUinPm1H
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 19, 2020
Trump and many of his Republican allies have alleged that Democrats have been unduly holding up additional financial support for small businesses after the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money. That program delivered forgivable loans for small businesses around the country with the express purpose of helping keep people on the payroll amidst the Coronavirus pandemic that has induced social distancing demands across the country. That social distancing has led to so many closures that a stunning 22 million people have filed for unemployment benefits recently.
– 22 million now unemployed
– Estimated unemployment rate now "over 20 percent"
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) April 16, 2020
Although the program sounds good on paper, the actual distribution of the Paycheck Protection Program funds took a markedly different turn. For example, a large restaurant chain called Ruth’s Chris Steak House got a full $20 million, although to call it a small business is definitely a stretch and numerous actual small businesses around the country have struggled to get their hands on any money associated with the program. Thus, Democrats have cautioned against simply writing the administration a blank check, and to that end, they also want to increase funding for local health authorities to ensure that any workers kept coming in won’t be alone on the front lines.
We cannot let minority-owned small businesses fall through the cracks of the Paycheck Protection Program. I joined my colleagues this week calling for data transparency on small business loans to make sure that people of color aren’t being shut out from help during a pandemic.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 18, 2020
Republicans, despite their pompous pronouncements about Democrats’ supposed obstruction, could easily agree to these crucial support boosts and get new Paycheck Protection Program funds going. Instead, they’ve opted to largely run to Twitter and the media instead of the negotiating table.
High end steak house receives $20 million in aid.
Many Mom and Pop shops have been shut out.
We c/n blindly give this administration billions more and expect things to be different.
That’s why House Dems are fighting for changes.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) April 17, 2020
Just the other day, Trump himself posted around two and a half dozen retweets from GOP interests in a single morning. They were coalescing around the idea that — for whatever reason — Democratic proposals for increased assistance to needy families through means like additional food purchasing assistance program funding weren’t even worth engaging with.
There are thousands of businesses in my district that are struggling to get relief and find a lender to work with. This article demonstrates exactly why we cannot simply dump more money into a broken program without first improving it.https://t.co/8EuBVQu54p
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 17, 2020