Friday, September 18, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to buy some votes.

Trump announced two separate $13 billion aid packages, targeted directly at crucial swing-state constituencies in the presidential election where voting is already underway in some states.

The first package was an agricultural bailout, which Trump announced in the farm-heavy state of Wisconsin. In theory, it was meant to help make farmers whole after the botched coronavirus response disrupted supply chains this year. But it's difficult to draw a line between COVID-19 damage and the ongoing hit that America's farmers have taken as a result of Trump's trade war with China and other countries. Those bailouts cost American taxpayers $28 billion in 2019 alone.

In spite of the bailouts, farm bankruptcies have gone up sharply on Trump's watch. In the upper midwest, they were up 42% from last year as of May, leading to the death of family farms and a spike in farmer suicides.

The second $13B aid package was for Puerto Rico, to aid in rebuilding after Hurricane Maria—which took place in 2017. At the time, Trump lied about the emergency relief aid that Puerto Ricans were getting, claimed that the thousands of Americans who died as a result of it were a hoax, and said the predominantly Hispanic-American population of the island were "ingrates" who "wanted everything done for them." 

Those remarks infuriated Puerto Ricans, many of whom moved to or had family in Florida—a state Trump desperately needs to win to have any chance of being re-elected and staving off federal criminal investigations for another four years.

So what?

  • Presidents are supposed to do what is best for the country at all times, not just when they're worried about being voted out of office.
  • It's bad if the thing the government is finally bailing you out for is a problem the president himself made worse.