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Why Trump Stalled, Then Signed, Coronavirus Aid Bill

Ego is the only reason Donald Trump refused to sign the coronavirus and omnibus spending bills for six days before doing so on Sunday.

CNN White House correspondent John Harwood, speaking with host Alisyn Camerota on Monday, said Trump recognizes that the days of him having clout over the American people are numbered. “What he got … was some gratification and some affirmation for his wounded ego. When you’re a lame-duck president, you feel the power draining away hour by hour. He knows Joe Biden is going to be president in a couple of weeks so he is desperately reaching on for things that make him feel powerful.”

Trump just wanted to see GOP lawmakers “begging him to sign this bill and not let it lapse. This is a president who is about his tending to his own ego, his own psyche, and he got a little gratification while playing golf in Mar-a-Lago that he counts for a few more days still.”

Axios co-founder Mike Allen reports that it took several days of flattering and cajoling Trump by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to convince the president to sign the legislation. It was during a Sunday afternoon phone call with Trump, Mnuchin and McCarthy that Trump finally said, “This is good. I should sign this,” Axios reported.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Playing to his ego and vanity, Mnuchin, who reportedly was vacationing at a resort property he owns in Mexico, and Graham, who golfed with Trump at his private club in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Christmas Day, waited out Trump’s rants about the legislation but ultimately were able to convince him that it contains a series of “wins” that he could point to as his accomplishments for the American people. The two bills Trump signed on Sunday are word-for-word identical to the ones he previously declared he would never sign.

They were able to convince the outgoing president that he was doing the right thing to preserve his “legacy.” Republican pollster Frank Luntz, however, told Axios, “It may be too late. Too late for him, too late for the economy, too late for COVID, and too late for the Georgia senators.”



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