President Trump complained for nearly a week about a “disgraceful” $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and 2021 spending package Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin helped negotiate, “only to sign it and get nothing in return?” Politico’s Playbook editors Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer marveled Monday morning. “Trump got taken to the cleaners.”
After this “bizarre, embarrassing episode,” all Trump proved is that “he had no discernible strategy and no hand to play,” Palmer and Sherman write. “He folded, and got nothing besides a few days of attention and chaos. … Zip. Zero. Zilch.” Trump issued a statement insisting he got promises out of Congress, they note, but “he’ll never get the spending rescissions he’s asking for — like, zero chance” — and his support for a vote on $2,000 stimulus checks will only “split the Republican Party on the way out the door.”
“This is probably the most fitting coda to Trump’s presidency, and a neat encapsulation of his relationship with Congress,” Palmer and Sherman argue. “He never cared to understand the place and was disengaged from its work. They’ll be laughing — er, scratching their heads — at your genius about this one for a while, Mr. President.”
Palmer also noted the terrible optics of Trump sitting on relief checks, unemployment benefits, and rental aid from his golf resort in Palm Beach, while Vice President Mike Pence is on a skiing vacation in Vail, Colorado, and Mnuchin took a private jet down to his vacation home in a Mexican resort near Cabo.
Maybe there’s something fitting about that, too.