- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

President Trump and Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Wednesday they want to negotiate a short-term coronavirus relief bill with Democrats to prevent evictions and extend unemployment benefits that are due to expire on Friday.

“We’re focused on those two things, we want to take care of them now,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “The rest we can discuss later.”

The president criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer for seeking a $3.5 trillion package that includes, he said, “big bailout money for Democrats that ran cities terribly.”

“They’ve taxed them too much, and they’ve run them poorly, and we don’t like that,” Mr. Trump said. “What the Democrats want are bailout funds, and we want to take care of people.”

Mr. Mnuchin said negotiators are “very far apart” in discussions that started Monday on a multi-trillion-dollar relief plan.

The president said Democrats “aren’t taking care of the people.”

“The payments aren’t enough,” Mr. Trump said, apparently referring to another round of proposed direct payments to most Americans of $1,200. “The rest of it, we’re so far apart we don’t care. We really don’t care. We want to take care of the people. The payments aren’t enough. They’re not making the payments; they’re not making them high enough.”

The Republican plan backed by the White House would cut current $600 weekly federal jobless benefits to $200 for two months. Democrats want to extend the $600 benefits through the end of the year.

The president added, “In the meantime, we ought to stop the evictions.”

A federal moratorium on housing evictions is expiring, also.

Mr. Mnuchin said the president is “very focused on evictions and unemployment.” He said a short-term deal by Friday would “give us more time to negotiate” on other issues.

Democrats are seeking nearly $1 trillion in aid to states and cities. The president said Democratic-controlled cities shouldn’t be “rewarded” for mismanagement.

“We should reward most of this country that’s well run,” Mr. Trump said. “You’re watching a Portland, and watching Seattle, you’re watching New York, where they had a 400% increase in crime. … Most of the country is very well run, and Republican cities are very well run. And it’s a shame to reward badly, radical left Democrats with all of this money that they’re looking for, for cities, to throw it away on cities that are poorly run.”

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