On Tuesday night President Trump informed Congress that he would not sign their COVID relief bill. He handed it back to them and told them it needed some major editing, including bumping up those $600 stimulus payments to $2,000. He called the present package a "disgrace," in part because it includes millions of dollars for foreign governments and for irrelevant programs like funding gender studies in Pakistan.
Michael Smerconish sparred with Chris Cuomo and Anthony Scaramucci over the president's move. Scaramucci had just got done with his prediction that Trump will end up signing the bill as is because he doesn't want "that level of humiliation" before he leaves office. Smerconish foresaw something else.
"I think you're underestimating the president," Smerconish countered. "I don't think the perception of him being 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas' is accurate. I think this is arguably, politically speaking, the most effective thing he's done since losing the election."
CNN’s Smerconish defends Trump’s 11th hour push for $2000 checks as “most effective thing he’s done” since election pic.twitter.com/VrxgYwmDgT— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) December 23, 2020
"It is him, frankly, laying back on those arguments that first put him in office - he's the champion of the working person and he wants two grand in everybody's pocket," he added.
"I agree," Cuomo said, but added that he doesn't think the president can get it done.
The COVID relief measure was opposed by 50 House Republicans, two House Democrats, and six GOP senators couldn't approve. Members of the House Freedom Caucus dismissed it as an "irresponsible swamp bill."
The bill was so controversial that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) even found some common ground in their criticism of it.