President Donald Trump will not be eligible for any federal assistance for his businesses as part of the coronavirus stimulus package that the Senate agreed upon early Wednesday morning, draft text of the bill showed.
That draft text includes a provision to prohibit businesses controlled by the president, vice president, members of Congress, heads of executive departments and their immediate family members — spouses, children and in-laws — from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs as part of the stimulus package.
That measure came out of negotiations on a portion of the bill providing $500 billion in loans to distressed industries. That fund would be under the Treasury Department’s control and could include bailout payments to hard-hit businesses like hotels and cruise lines.
Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was pressed on whether the provision was unfair.
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“I think the danger is much greater the other way, Joe, that if they get a financial interest then they’ll make policy decisions leaning and bending in that direction,” Schumer said. “Look, I’ve always believed … that those who make the laws shouldn’t directly benefit monetarily from those laws. We’ve tried to get better and better and better at that, and this is just another example. It’s not aimed just at Donald Trump, but at anyone in high office.”
On CNN’s “New Day,” Schumer said the provision was aimed not just at Trump “but any major figure in government, Cabinet, Senate, congressmen, if they have majority, they have majority control, they can’t get grants or loans and that makes sense.”
Trump’s private businesses have been under intense scrutiny during his presidency with critics accusing him of attempting to profit off his office. Trump did not divest from the Trump Organization, which is now run by his two adult sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.
According to The Washington Post, six of Trump’s seven highest revenue-generating clubs and hotels have shuttered in recent weeks because of measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Trump was asked during Sunday’s White House coronavirus task force press conference if he would commit that none of the stimulus money would go toward his business. The president then lamented that “nobody cared” or said “thank you very much” that he has forgone the president’s annual salary in excess of $400,000.
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“Look, I ran and everybody knew I was a rich person,” Trump said. “I built a great company and people knew that. But I agreed to do things I didn’t have to. I still don’t have to. But my company — I told the kids, who are running it — I’m not running it. But I told them, ‘Don’t deal with foreign companies. Don’t deal…’ I didn’t have to do that. I could have just ran and I have — I didn’t have to do that at all.”
“And instead of being thanked for, again, not agreeing to do, but just not doing it, I get excoriated all the time,” Trump continued. “So I’ve learned — let’s just see what happens because we have to save some of these great companies. They can be great companies, literally, in a matter of weeks. We have to save them.”
Early Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he expected the deal to pass the Senate later in the day while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters the president would “absolutely” sign it.