Trump Gives Schumer an Assist

Photo: Eric Gay/Associated Press

President Trump finally signed the Covid-19 relief bill and 2021 budget on Sunday night, but not before giving a big assist to Democratic hopes of gaining control of the Senate in the two runoff elections on Jan. 5. Current GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is left this week trying to undo the significant political damage.

Mr. Trump had been insisting that Congress write checks of $2,000 each to most Americans, rather than the $600 in the bill. His own Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, negotiated the $600 figure. But after the bill passed, Mr. Trump decided that wasn’t enough.

Never mind that the $2,000 would go to tens of millions of Americans who have kept their jobs and maintained their incomes during the pandemic. It would also add some $350 billion or more to a federal deficit that is already into the trillions of dollars. The economy won’t benefit since the recipients aren’t going to change their behavior knowing it’s merely a one-time check.

Senate Republicans oppose the $2,000 for these sound reasons, but Mr. Trump has put them in a political spot. Democrats immediately joined Mr. Trump’s call for the $2,000, and on Monday House Democrats were expected to vote to approve the extra cash.

That leaves Mr. McConnell with a tough call of barring a vote as Democrats bang away in TV ads in Georgia against GOP incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Or he can hold a vote, which would split the GOP caucus and upset fiscally conservative voters. Either way it amounts to a Donald Trump in-kind contribution to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden.

By all accounts Mr. Trump is angry about his election defeat, and he is lashing out at anyone who won’t indulge his hopeless campaign to overturn it. This includes Senate Republicans, who need to win in Georgia to retain their majority and block Mr. Biden’s ability to indulge the Democratic left.

Mr. Trump’s narcissism isn’t news. But if Republicans lose the two Georgia seats and their majority, Republicans across the country should know to thank Mr. Trump for their 2021 tax increase.

Main Street: While Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are the Republican candidates, no one has a bigger stake in keeping the Senate red than the president. Images: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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Appeared in the December 29, 2020, print edition.