President Donald Trump’s big executive power move ostensibly meant to support laid-off workers and stimulate the economy is already mired in confusion that threatens to leave millions of jobless Americans waiting in vain for help from Washington. White House advisers struggled to explain that exactly what the flurry of Trump actions, signed by Trump after the breakdown of talks with congressional Democrats on a new coronavirus rescue package, actually do or how quickly they might work. But it’s already clear the measures fall well short of the President’s billing.
In many ways, his intervention on Saturday is a typical Trump gambit. Trump actions appear hurriedly written and thought out — designed for a political flourish rather than as a sound foundation for governing.
While the President claims to have stepped in to protect American workers, Trump actions may not deliver the help Americans need — especially since his memorandum on unemployment benefits actually lowers federal payments from the $600 level under a previous Congressional package and his order for “assistance to renters and homeowners” does not extend the eviction moratorium that has already expired. His decision to unveil the measures Saturday in a rambling, hyper political news conference at his New Jersey golf club, playing to a gallery of well-heeled members, bolstered the impression of a political stunt.
That was especially the case since the President accompanied his announcement with untrue claims about election fraud and the true state of the pandemic — which hit the 5 million infections as more than 1,000 Americans die every day from the disease.
Initial indications of the flaws of Trump actions make it even clearer that answers for Americans relying on federal money after losing jobs in the pandemic will only come with a resumption of negotiations. This may increase unemployment and at the same time, poverty.