People are falling for President Trump’s equivocal answers yet again. Earlier today, Trump was interviewed by Fox Business News about the potential provisions for the next round of coronavirus relief.
Trump was asked very targeted and specific questions, but as he has done historically, he gave generic, indirect answers that are being misconstrued. This is also an instance where many are taking snippets of Trump’s responses out of context and not listening to the nuance of his entire answer.
I listened to the entire interview and here is what I mean.
Fox Business reporter Blake Burman asked Trump, “Another round of direct payments for individuals, do you support that?”
Trump responded: “I do, I support it, but it has to be done properly. And I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats.”
If you only listened to Trump’s immediate reply, then you might walk away believing that Trump indeed supported a larger second stimulus check. Sadly, many seized on this excerpt to claim Trump’s support without listening to the rest of the interview.
If you did listen to the remainder of Trump’s answer, it became crystal clear that he was conflating direct stimulus payments with other forms of stimulus relief, specifically the enhanced $600 unemployment bonus or what Republicans appear to be rallying around, which is a “return to work” bonus. This is not the first time this has happened. Many jumped last week after Trump’s interview with a Scripps reporter who similarly asked a direct question about stimulus checks only to get an indirect answer about the broader stimulus package.
Here is the rest of Trump’s reply: “We had something where it gave you a disincentive to work last time, and it was still money going to people and helping people so I was all for it, but we want to create a very great incentive to work.”
Trump Clearly Conflates Stimulus Payments With Unemployment Insurance Bonus
It was so clear that Trump was confusing stimulus checks with the unemployment benefit extension that Burman felt compelled to chime in to clarify, asking Trump, “do you want direct payments larger or the uninsurance benefits larger?”
Trump’s reply was equivocal, but the more he spoke the more it became apparent that he was again referring to unemployment benefits and not a second stimulus check. “I want the money getting to people to be larger, so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly and in a non-complicated fashion,” Trump responded.
This was ambiguous, but Trump continued, “also, it was an incentive not to go to work. You’d make more money if you didn’t go to work and that was not what the country is all about.” “We don’t want to have that, we want to create a tremendous incentive for people to go back to work,” he concluded.
Second Stimulus Check Frenzy:
Many Americans are struggling and are understandably looking for any confirmation that a second stimulus check is coming. A Bankrate survey found that 55% of respondents anticipated that economic impact payments would sustain them for less than three months. Another survey, conducted by SimplyWise in mid-April, not only reinforced this point, but also underscored the predicament many Americans are in; 63% responded that they would need another stimulus check within three months. However, please don’t jump at every piece of news. Please do not take every headline and quote at face value.
Trump has a history of speaking ambiguously and in grandiose terms only to then back off or pivot. If you listen to the Fox Business interview for yourself, you’ll notice the clear conflation of direct payments and unemployment insurance.
Will there be a second stimulus check? To be honest, no one knows yet. Trump’s comments today don’t really help provide any clarity either.