Dan Rather Blasts Donald Trump’s ‘Abject Cruelty’ For Not Caring As Americans Lose Unemployment Benefits

Dan Rather is speaking out against President Donald Trump for refusing to sign the COVID-19 relief bill, throwing the process into disarray with a last-minute demand for larger checks and ultimately allowing extended unemployment benefits to expire.

The veteran journalist accused Trump of showing “abject cruelty” for allowing his ego to get in the way of a bipartisan deal that would have sent $600 stimulus checks to Americans and offered a host of other measures to help businesses and others struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I am thinking of all those desperate for extended unemployment benefits tonight. Heartbreaking,” Rather tweeted.

“The abject cruelty, the callousness, the lack of a single drop of empathy… during the holidays and a pandemic, in added tragedy. All for no purpose but a malignant ego.”

Others have slammed Trump for his failure to sign the bill, which he criticized for its spending and for what he viewed as inadequate stimulus checks. After Trump demanded that the amount be raised to $2,000, Democratic leaders immediately backed the idea and attempted to hold a vote that would have authorized the higher amount, but it was blocked by Republicans.

Donald Trump speaks outside the White House.

As The Huffington Post reported, Trump’s refusal to sign the measure meant that at least 9.5 million Americans lost benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which expired at midnight on Saturday. As the BBC noted, the president defended his position, taking to Twitter to blame China for COVID-19 spreading around the globe.

Others have criticized Trump for retreating to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida after throwing the process in disarray, where he was spotted golfing during a long Christmas vacation as lawmakers from both parties worked to save the deal. He has long been criticized by those who believe he failed to take the pandemic seriously enough, making statements downplaying its severity and failing to adhere to proper social distancing measures at events. As the number of infections and deaths has risen steadily over the course of the last several weeks, Trump has instead focused on legal efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

There could be more uncertainty to come if Trump does not authorize the stimulus deal. A partial government shutdown is set to start on Tuesday unless lawmakers can come together on a temporary funding measure, though the BBC noted that this would not include the coronavirus relief measures and would still require a signature from Trump. It remains uncertain whether he would do so.

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