CNN host Michael Smerconish called President Donald Trump’s last-minute push for $2,000 in direct payments to Americans “the most effective thing he’s done” since the November election.
Trump stated in a video Tuesday that he would not sign the recently passed coronavirus stimulus bill in its current form, demanding the extra cash along with the elimination of “wasteful items” from the bill.
CNN host Chris Cuomo brought Smerconish and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci in to discuss the latest developments on Tuesday night’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”
While Scaramucci predicted that Trump would ultimately sign the package when he realizes his veto would be overridden, Smerconish contended that he was “underestimating the president.”
“I don’t think the perception of him being the Grinch who stole Christmas is accurate,” said Smerconish. “I think that this is arguably, politically speaking, the most effective thing that he has done since losing the election. The American people aren’t going to understand the difference between the COVID relief bill and the omnibus spending bill.”
Smerconish contended that people would see the $600 as “chump change” compared to all the items in the bills.
“It is him frankly laying back on those arguments that first put him in office,” he said. “I mean, he’s the champion of the working person, and he wants two grand in everybody’s pocket. I think it’s effective for him.”
Disagreeing with Smerconish’s assessment, Scaramucci maintained that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would “completely embarrass him in the Senate.” (RELATED: Karl Rove Blasts Powell, Flynn: ‘The President Has Been So Ill-Served By This Crowd’)
“He doesn’t want that,” he said. “He’s making noises here, but he’ll sign that bill.”
“I’m only suggesting to you that it’s not black and white, that he does not necessarily come out of this politically speaking as a loser,” Smerconish added after his co-panelists pointed out some of Trump’s own preferred budget items.
While agreeing with his last-minute proposal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed out the fact that Trump never once called for $2,000 during months of negotiations.
Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it! https://t.co/Th4sztrpLV
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2020
In a thread criticizing Trump for creating a “full-blown legislative crisis,” Politico’s Jake Sherman noted that Trump could have gotten the larger direct payments “if he was even remotely involved” in the process of developing the bill.
Irony of this whole thing is @realDonaldTrump could’ve gotten $2,000 stimulus checks if he was even remotely involved in this process. He wasn’t even an observer. @senatemajldr fought just to get @stevenmnuchin1 in the room
Trump has now humiliated @stevenmnuchin1 once again.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) December 23, 2020