Americans suffer at Christmas as Trump plays golf and sows chaos

But after enduring so much, Americans can hardly be blamed for feeling outrage over yet another indignity at the hands of their leaders.

House Republicans on Thursday rejected an attempt by Democrats to pass a bill that included direct payments of $ 2,000 to Americans – exactly the amount Trump demanded in a random video he tweeted this week rejecting a bill with payments of $ 600 that had been overwhelmingly approved with the support of his administration.

In the Republican-controlled Senate, there doesn’t seem to be enough support for a bill with $ 2,000 checks. Trump is engaged in open hostility towards Republican chamber leaders because they recognized the reality that he lost the election, a dispute he acknowledged on Twitter after returning from his golf course to Mar-a-Lago on Christmas Eve.

“At a meeting in Florida today, everyone was asking why Republicans are not up for war and fighting over Democrats stealing the rigged presidential election?” he asked, using the term “encounter” rather loosely. “Especially in the Senate, they said, where you helped 8 senators to win their disputes. How quickly they forget!”

The bill that Trump required change in Congress was sent to him on Thursday afternoon, but he offered no clarity as to what he would do with it. Government funding will expire on Monday, unless Trump signs the package or Congress approves another interim measure; they have already gone through four of these corrections this month alone.

The fact that no one seems to know what Trump wants – if he knows himself – has only fueled the impression that the country is heading for chaos just when it is least welcome.

“I have no idea what he plans to do,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican who is generally aligned with the president, on Thursday.

Politicians immune to pain

Vacation weeks to test Congress' willingness to confront the president

In the past, when the government was about to close around Christmas, presidents and lawmakers stayed in Washington to find out. Even Trump missed his Florida vacation two years ago, when the agencies closed.

Likewise, the country’s leaders tend to try some form of solidarity in the trenches with their constituents when things get tough – such as, for example, when health experts advise against vacation trips and family reunions.

But conventional practices practically disappeared in the four years that Trump was president. And no one thinks twice as much when Trump – despite claims by the White House that his schedule is packed with phone calls and meetings – makes another visit to one of his golf clubs, while millions of Americans are starving at Christmas.

Having already forced American sufferers to wait months for further economic relief from the devastation of the coronavirus, it does not appear that elected officials will figure out how to move forward anytime soon.

“We were assured that the president would sign the bill,” Blunt told reporters on Thursday, casually suggesting that the president might not understand what was in it – something of an understatement, given the president’s combination of packages. encouragement and funding from the Covid government, and his fury at the spending he proposed in his budget this year.


Trump shows his erratic behavior in recent days

As Republicans work to decide what Trump wants, more than 12 million laid-off Americans may lose their unemployment benefits after this weekend, the delayed rent will be due on January 1 for millions of tenants and states may lose any funds no spending of the $ 150 billion that Congress provided earlier this year to state and local governments to help cover expenses related to the coronavirus.

This left millions of Americans facing deep uncertainty at the end of a difficult year.

“I think people are scared,” said Karen Pozna, director of communications for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, on CNN. “You know, they are scared, many people have lost their jobs or had to accept pay cuts. The need was great before the pandemic. It continues now. And I see it continues until the new year.”

Trump made virtually no mention of the number of victims of the pandemic for weeks; in a video he recorded alongside the First Lady at Christmas, he left empathy for his wife while declaring the launch of recently authorized vaccines “a Christmas miracle”, although the vast majority of Americans have not had access to vaccines for months.

Lawmakers say they are feeling the heat of their constituents to do something, pressure that Trump does not seem to share.

“I had a city hall meeting last night that made people cry, people terrified of what was going to happen,” said Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, on Thursday after the failure of the Democratic measure.

“The president – when we finally thought we would be able to give people hope – that’s what people need, hope – and we can start working on it in January, he didn’t give a damn about people,” she said. “He threw more fear – he threw kerosene into a terrorist fire.”

It was not just the Democrats who were frustrated.

“If he thinks that going to Twitter and destroying the bill that his team negotiated and that we support in his name will bring more people to his side in this electoral fiasco, I hope he is wrong, although I suppose we will see,” Rep. Anthony Gonzalez , R-Ohio, tweeted on Wednesday.

Watching it all burn

The frustrated Trump met Pence before the holidays

In the end, Trump himself may not know what his ultimate goals are other than to pour more gas into a system that seems to have the intention of watching it burn as he leaves office. Trump remains furious because Republicans – including those who helped negotiate the legislation he rejected – are not supporting him in his attempt to overturn the election.

In Florida, Trump is often surrounded by more willing parasites who, in the past, have encouraged his destructive impulses. His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani flew with him to Florida aboard Air Force One on Wednesday.

CNN reported on Thursday that Trump’s last fixation is the Jan. 6 certification of the Electoral College count for Joe Biden, an occasion he hopes to provide an opening for his supporters to challenge the results.

While on vacation to Florida, Trump retweeted a call from one of his supporters that Vice President Mike Pence refused to ratify the results of the Electoral College.

Trump told people recently that Pence is not doing enough to fight for him when his presidency ends, and recently became interested in Pence’s traditional role during certification. As president of the Senate, Pence presides over the proceedings.

Sources say Trump has brought the matter up to the vice president in recent days and has been “confused” about why Pence cannot overturn the results of the January 6 election. Pence and White House advisers tried to explain to him that his role is more formal and cannot unilaterally reject the polling station’s votes.

It is far from clear that the president has internalized the message.