On Friday, as negotiations continued over a new Coronavirus relief package, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a press conference in which she tried to lay out some of the administration’s supposed priorities amidst the crisis. She claimed that the administration is focused on extending unemployment benefits and protecting Americans from evictions, but those claims seem to have been somewhat like a smokescreen meant to obscure the Trump team’s ruthless politicking. McEnany claimed that Democrats have come out with zero proposals for a new relief package, but that’s a lie — the Democrat-led House passed new Coronavirus relief legislation over two months ago, which the Republican-led Senate has refused to take up for all this time.
"We've made four proposals. The Democrats have made precisely zero," says Kayleigh McEnany says.
House Democrats passed their own legislation in May.
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) July 31, 2020
McEnany was also questioned about issues like why there’s $377 million for White House renovations that’s been proposed to be included in the next Coronavirus relief legislation. As the reporter noted, it’s not the first highly questionable inclusion to come out of the GOP relief proposals — the White House also wanted to include $1.75 billion for the development of a new FBI building.
"This is not a red line for us" on funding for a new FBI building. $377 million for West Wing renovations that she says "will not stand in the way" of getting a deal on covid relief.
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) July 31, 2020
McEnany claimed in response:
‘As it pertains to White House renovations, many of those pertain to safety protocols, filtration systems, enhanced communication ability, and needs that we saw that were highlighted during the pandemic, but make no mistake, a $377 million proposal will not stand in the way of ensuring that the American people will get their checks. That is the priority, and ensuring that Americans do not get evicted — [those] are our number one, number two goals.’
‘[Trump] is not afraid to stand up to Russia,’ claims Kayleigh McEnany in response to a question about why Trump hasn’t pushed back on reported Russian bounties against U.S. soldiers pic.twitter.com/hUhOLOICTs
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 31, 2020
McEnany seems to be presenting herself and the administration quite self-righteously, but Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein notes that the White House didn’t even express support for extending a nationwide moratorium on evictions until this past Wednesday, but the actual national moratorium expired last Friday. (Some local moratoriums are still in-place.) In other words, no matter what McEnany says — where is the actual seriousness from the Trump administration about these matters? Millions of Americans have faced economic troubles throughout the pandemic, and the $600 a week add-on to expiring unemployment benefits that was imposed awhile back is expiring this week. There’s no replacement support that’s ready-to-go.
McEnany today: "The priority is … making sure Americans do not get evicted"
Meadows: We want to extend "eviction protection [that is] set to expire"
The eviction moratorium expired last Friday
The White House did not say it wants to extend the moratorium until Wednesday
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) July 31, 2020