While most people slept on Saturday night and Sunday morning, unemployment benefits lapsed for the millions of Americans displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic, all because a mad king is sulking in his swamp castle after a bitter defeat.
Outgoing President Donald Trump spent the holidays at his Mar-A-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, golfing and brazenly shirking his duties as steward of a nation by refusing to sign the $900 billion COVID relief bill.
The bill was a done deal, but then Trump plunged his stubby fingers into the thing, insisting that the bill provide a one-time $2,000 benefit instead of the chintzy $600 that Republicans previously demanded.
by George Lang, opinion writer for Free Press
Just to be clear, Trump was not experiencing a Grinch-like heart enlargement when he demanded the $2,000 benefit. He did it to gum up the works, knowing that Congressional Republicans would balk at such largesse. It was Trump’s final, colossal “screw you” of 2020, an opportunity to punish a nation for not re-electing him to four more years of dereliction and abuse.
Trump weaponized the malignant putzes in Republican leadership to scuttle the bill, which would extend weekly unemployment benefits and add one month to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on evictions.
And now he golfs in a constant pique while Vice President Mike Pence and his Stepford family hit the slopes at Vail. As our nation struggles with rising COVID-19 cases, financial calamity and the threat of a midnight government shutdown on Dec. 29, no one is at the helm.
Congress returns Monday to vote once again on the package, hopefully with a veto-proof margin. If they are unable to eke out a successful vote, governmental chaos will ensue and many Americans will needlessly suffer.
While thousands of people on social media make it a regular point of posting how many days remain before the Trump Administration ends, this is not a time for passive waiting. Our nation was warned by historians, political experts and Trump biographers that he will try to burn everything down on his way out, and his refusal to sign the COVID relief bill was a spark landing on dry kindling.
There are no normal circumstances in 2020, but if those conditions were mere degrees more positive right now, I and countless other Americans would gladly encourage Trump to spend the next three weeks in Florida and let Pence continue to blend into the snow drifts. But we need them to do the bare minimum their jobs require to make government work for us. Lives depend on that particular miracle.
But Trump’s impotence as a leader and his moral and political failure at the closing of the year will have unintended consequences. For one, his “Nero golfing while Rome burns” act is getting the nation accustomed to not having him around. If Trump will just sign the COVID bill and keep the government running past Tuesday, he can disappear into the Everglades for all eternity, or at least until New York Attorney General Letitia James has him extradited back to her state to stand trial for his alleged financial crimes. We will not need him anymore.
This failure in the 11th hour of Trump’s presidency might not be his capstone — figuratively speaking, he still has an hour to inflict some serious evil. But Trump’s crumpling in the days following his unsuccessful sedition bid means that fewer and fewer people will be clamoring for more on January 20, 2021.
As Trump whimpers his final “WITCH HUNT!” on Twitter and the front doors of the White House land squarely on his ass, Trump’s cult can start moving through the Kubler-Ross stages toward acceptance.
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