Bernie Sanders says Donald Trump is ‘unbelievably cruel’ for not yet signing COVID relief bill

Bernie Sanders said Sunday morning that President Donald Trump is ‘unbelievably cruel’ for letting the coronavirus relief package sit on his desk as he golfs in Mar-a-Lago for Christmas vacation.

‘What the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel,’ Sanders told ABC’s ‘This Week’ host Jonathan Karl in a Sunday interview.

‘Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits,’ the independent Vermont senator continued. ‘They’re going to be evicted from their apartments because the eviction moratorium is ending. We are looking at a way to get the vaccine distributed to tens of millions of people. There’s money in that bill.’

Sanders was responding to Trump’s suggestion last week that he could veto the $900 billion COVID-19 bill. The president lamented that there was too much foreign aid included and insisted that the direct checks be boosted from $600 to $2,000.

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said Sunday morning that Donald Trump is 'unbelievably cruel' for not yet signing the $900 billion in coroanvirus relief and suggesting he could veto the whole package

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said Sunday morning that Donald Trump is ‘unbelievably cruel’ for not yet signing the $900 billion in coroanvirus relief and suggesting he could veto the whole package

Trump spent Sunday golfing at his West Palm Beach resort as he vacations in Mar-a-Lago for Christmas

Trump spent Sunday golfing at his West Palm Beach resort as he vacations in Mar-a-Lago for Christmas

The president railed against the bipartisan legislation, claiming foreign aid was too high and insisting $600 direct checks for Americans be tripled to $2,000

The president railed against the bipartisan legislation, claiming foreign aid was too high and insisting $600 direct checks for Americans be tripled to $2,000

The comments from Sanders also come as Republican Senator Pat Toomey said Sunday morning that Trump will be remembered as a president of ‘chaos and misery and erratic behavior’ if he doesn’t sign the bill by midnight.

‘You don’t always get what you want, even if you are the president of the United States,’ the Pennsylvania senator said in reference to Trump’s demand for $2,000 stimulus checks. 

Toomey said during his interview with ‘Fox News Sunday’ that he opposes the president’s proposed increase of direct checks to $2,000 from the $600 price tag already included in the most recent bipartisan coronavirus relief legislation. 

‘I understand the president would like to send bigger checks to everybody,’ Toomey said. ‘I think what he ought to do is sign this bill and then make the case.’

‘I don’t agree with $2,000 to people who have had no lost income whatsoever, but the president’s free to make that case,’ he continued.

The nearly $1 trillion relief bill, lumped in with the annual government funding legislation, went to the president’s desk for signage last week – but Trump said, seemingly out of the blue, that he would veto the package.

‘I think the president has not actually explicitly said he is going to veto this bill. I take that as a hopeful sign,’ Toomey told Mike Emanuel, who was filling in for fellow Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday.

‘I think as he leaves office, he will — I understand he wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire,’ Toomey said. 

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey also railed against the president Sunday, claiming he will be remembered for 'chaos and misery and erratic behavior' if he doesn't sign the coroanvirus relief bill that went to his desk last week

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey also railed against the president Sunday, claiming he will be remembered for ‘chaos and misery and erratic behavior’ if he doesn’t sign the coroanvirus relief bill that went to his desk last week

'You don't always get what you want, even if you are the president of the United States,' the Pennsylvania senator said in reference to Trump's demand for $2,000 stimulus checks

‘You don’t always get what you want, even if you are the president of the United States,’ the Pennsylvania senator said in reference to Trump’s demand for $2,000 stimulus checks

The bill was overwhelmingly passed by Congress on Tuesday after weeks of negotiations led to the first bipartisan coronavirus relief package since March. Lawmakers vowed not to leave Washington, D.C. for Christmas recess until a deal was reached.

The president said he would go against the bill unless the payments, set to go out to most Americans, were tripled.

Toomey insisted it’s time for Trump to accept the results of the election and move on.

The president still insists there was widespread voter fraud and ‘cheating’ that he claims proves he won the election over Joe Biden.

The president blamed China on Saturday night for the financial strain being felt by Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time as Trump was tweeting, unemployment benefits lapsed for 14 million Americans due to his refusal to sign the bill – while a government shutdown also looms.

According to the Brookings Institute, 10 million unemployed workers lost boosted compensation Saturday while an additional 3.8 million workers are at risk of losing benefits within weeks.

Yet the president remained adamant that the current proposed legislation is not good enough. 

‘$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China’s fault!’ he tweeted from Palm Beach, Florida, where he is spending the holiday. 

Trump refused to sign the bill as 14 million Americans will lose boosted unemployment benefits from Saturday on. Instead he tweeted Saturday: '$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China's fault!'

Trump refused to sign the bill as 14 million Americans will lose boosted unemployment benefits from Saturday on. Instead he tweeted Saturday: ‘$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China’s fault!’

Trump has continuously blamed China for the pandemic, dubbing COVID-19 the ‘China virus’ and blaming it for the outbreak, and the shutdowns, closures and subsequent economic losses that followed.  

The end-of-year COVID relief and spending bill had been considered a done deal before Trump’s sudden objections. 

It remained in limbo early Sunday morning as the president continued to demand larger COVID relief checks and complained about ‘pork’ spending.  

Washington has been reeling since Trump turned on the deal after it had won sweeping approval in both houses of Congress and after the White House had assured Republican leaders that Trump would support it. 

Instead, he assailed the bill’s plan to provide $600 COVID relief checks to most Americans – insisting it should be $2,000.

Democrats had pushed for larger stimulus check from the off but even with Trump’s support, House Republicans swiftly rejected that idea during a rare Christmas Eve session. 

Yet Trump has not been swayed to change his mind, despite the rejections from his own party and in spite of the nation being in the grip of a pandemic.

‘I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,’ Trump tweeted earlier Saturday. 

‘Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork’,’ he wrote, referencing additonal spending that had been latched onto the main bill providing financial relief to the nation. 

'I simply want to get out great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,' Trump tweeted Saturday. 'Also, stop the billions of dollars in 'pork''

 ‘I simply want to get out great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,’ Trump tweeted Saturday. ‘Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork”

Lauren Bauer, a fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, calculated that 11 million people would lose aid from the programs immediately without additional relief from Saturday. 

Millions more would exhaust other unemployment benefits within weeks.

However, Andrew Stettner, an unemployment insurance expert and senior fellow at the Century Foundation think tank, said the number may be closer to 14 million because joblessness has spiked since Thanksgiving.

About 9.5 million people had been relying on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that expired altogether Saturday. 

That program made unemployment insurance available to freelancers, gig workers and others who were normally not eligible.  

After receiving their last checks, those recipients would not be able to file for more aid, Stettner said. 

Congress had last week approved that these payments could continue until March 14, with an added $300-per-week federal boost for laid-off workers. 

Yet Trump let the program end as he remained focused on stimulus checks. 

Ten million unemployed workers will lose compensation immediately from Saturday while an additional 3.8 million workers are at risk of losing benefits within weeks. Pictured a crowded food bank in Los Angeles in early December as the pandemic continues

Ten million unemployed workers will lose compensation immediately from Saturday while an additional 3.8 million workers are at risk of losing benefits within weeks. Pictured a crowded food bank in Los Angeles in early December as the pandemic continues

While payments could be received retroactively, any gap would mean more hardship and uncertainty for Americans who had already grappled with bureaucratic delays, often depleting much of their savings to stay afloat while waiting for payments to kick in. 

In addition to the unemployment benefits that have already lapsed, Trump’s continued refusal to sign the bill would lead to the expiration of eviction protections and put on hold a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants and theaters, as well as money for cash-starved transit systems and for vaccine distribution. 

The relief was also attached to a $1.4 trillion government funding bill to keep the federal government operating through September, which would mean that failing to sign it by midnight Tuesday would trigger a federal shutdown. 

President-elect Joe Biden had called on Trump to sign the bill immediately as the midnight Saturday deadline neared for two federal programs providing unemployment aid.

‘It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don´t know if they´ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump´s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,’ Biden said in a statement. 

He accused Trump of an ‘abdication of responsibility’ that has ‘devastating consequences.’

Trump continued to ignore the requests from Biden, just as he continued to refuse to concede the election.  

Earlier on Saturday night, the president returned with another round of claims of election fraud in a fiery Twitter tirade in which he concluded ‘We will win’.

He blasted the FBI, the U.S. court system and the Department of Justice before declaring that the country’s electoral system is ‘like that of a third world country’.

Trump called on Republicans to help him fight for the presidency as he took further hits and the press and tech companies amid allegations of voter fraud that U.S. courts and the Justice Department have deemed to be unfounded.

‘Time for Republican Senators to step up and fight for the Presidency, like the Democrats would do if they had actually won,’ Trump wrote in a Twitter thread.

Earlier on Saturday night, President Trump returned with another round of claims of election fraud in a fiery Twitter tirade in which he concluded 'We will win'

Earlier on Saturday night, President Trump returned with another round of claims of election fraud in a fiery Twitter tirade in which he concluded ‘We will win’

‘The proof is irrefutable! Massive late night mail-in ballot drops in swing states, stuffing the ballot boxes (on video), double voters, dead voters, …fake signatures, illegal immigrant voters, banned Republican vote watchers, MORE VOTES THAN ACTUAL VOTERS (check out Detroit & Philadelphia), and much more,’ he added, despite his campaign having so far being able to offer no evidence to prove that any of these allegations were true and his lawsuits being dismissed.

‘The numbers are far greater than what is necessary to win the individual swing states, and cannot even be contested…. Courts are bad, the FBI and ‘Justice’ didn’t do their job, and the United States Election System looks like that of a third world country,’ Trump fumed.

‘Freedom of the press has been gone for a long time, it is Fake News, and now we have Big Tech (with Section 230) to deal with.

‘But when it is all over, and this period of time becomes just another ugly chapter in our Country’s history, WE WILL WIN!!!’ the president concluded.

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