In a speech that was more of a campaign rally than an announcement, President Donald Trump signed four executive orders aimed at providing economic relief amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Light on specifics, Trump said at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, “We will take care of pretty much this entire situation.” The president said the orders would include $400 a week in additional unemployment benefits, a payroll tax holiday and eviction protections. Trump’s plan would require states to fund a portion of the extra benefits.
Two of the other executive orders focus on eviction protections and student loan relief. The fourth would remove the payroll tax from September through December. Three of Trump’s executive orders cover issues that have been the focus of congressional talks between Democrats and Republicans; the Democrat-Led House passed a broad ranging relief package in May, which the Republican-led Senate subsequently refused to take up until after the most recent aid package expired. After Senate Republicans were unable to reach agreement on a counter bill and withdrew from talks, negotiations continued between Democrats and the White House.
It’s not clear if Trump’s executive orders will hold up to legal challenges, which are expected, over his attempts to supersede what is a congressional authority. “Maybe we won’t get sued?” he said on Saturday in response to a question.
The majority of Trump’s remarks focused on his continued claim, without any evidence to back it up, that mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud. He also spent considerable time attacking Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and his presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Both CNN and MSNBC cut away from airing his remarks live to instead provide analysis.