December 28, 2020

Alysin Camerota was trying to make sense of Trump's irresponsible delay in signing the covid relief bill -- but as we know, trying to impose logic on Trump's actions is a losing proposition.

"After 7 p.m., the president finally signed this coronavirus relief package and government spending bill. Had he signed it at midnight, by midnight, on Saturday night, instead of waiting til Sunday, millions of Americans would not have their benefits lapse. But because he waited a few more hours, they will. And that means something like 12 million Americans won't be able to pay for groceries or won't be able to pay their rent. Why? Why did he do that?"

Margaret Talev, CNN's White House correspondent, tried to explain.

"Alisyn, basically, all of Washington is scratching their heads asking this question this morning, including top Republican leaders. It is correct, if you are an American who is waiting for that $600 per person to arrive this week as the secretary, President Trump's Treasury secretary told you, is not going to happen most likely this week, is going to be delayed. If you're expecting that extra $300 expansion in unemployment benefits, that is -- you're probably going to miss the first week of it. That is going to be delayed. And it is because of the president's delay on this.

"And in the end, it doesn't change what package people got. It doesn't make you anymore likely to get $2,000. None of that will change as a result of the president holding back on this. Another interesting detail, my colleague, Mike Allen reporting this morning that this deal, the president's decision to go ahead and sign it was actually cemented yesterday afternoon in a phone call with Mnuchin, with house Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. So we didn't hear that he would sign it for sure until last night. But he'd actually made that decision hours earlier," Talev said.

"So what you had was a very public campaign to try goad and embarrass the president into signing it. And a private campaign that was actually probably for effective in terms of convincing him, 'you're the leader, the country can't do without you, you've fought a good fight, you've helped frame the conversation for the things you care about.' That is what it took to get it done. And even then, we all had to wait several hours to hear the decision and that extra time delay, you know, has probably made a difference in people's ability to get the relief. And if you really need the $600, that day mattered."

"As do millions of Americans, perhaps many watching right now," Jim Sciutto said. "As so often happens here, it's about ego management of the president. His friends kind of cajoling, pushing a little bit. 'Mr. President, you did so well here,' to finally get him to act."

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