‘Clearly, he is trying to buy the election’: Critics slam Trump’s scramble to send key voting blocs federal aid

The president’s push to send last-minute money to crucial voting blocs in his re-election bid condemned as ‘another blatant attempt to buy votes’

Chris Riotta
New York
Friday 09 October 2020 15:21
Comments
Trump appeals to senior citizens in new Twitter video
Leer en Español

Donald Trump’s critics are slamming what they say is a last-minute scramble by his administration to send federal dollars to voting blocs like farmers and seniors in order to help the president secure a victory in the upcoming election.

As the president blows up stimulus talks on Capitol Hill after abruptly scrapping negotiations with House Democrats, reports in recent weeks have painted a picture of his White House racing to send federal aid to voters crucial in his re-election bid.

Just last month, Mr Trump held a rally in central Wisconsin where he announced a new round of pandemic aid to farmers amounting to a reported $13 billion.

The president has also sought to take credit for initiatives supplying aid to Americans in need just weeks ahead of the election.

His administration suddenly mandated boxes of food aid sent to Americans must include a letter featuring Mr Trump’s bold signature, a move that was described as “another blatant attempt to buy votes” by Chris Lu, former White House Cabinet secretary under President Barack Obama.

Mr Trump’s latest attempts to distribute federal aid to crucial voting blocs ahead of the November vote was described as “uniquely aggressive” in a report by the Washington Post, which featured a statement from Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, who said: “Clearly, he is trying to buy the election in a way nobody has ever done before, at least not in my lifetime.”

The White House has defended Mr Trump’s recent actions, with spokesperson Judd Deere telling the newspaper they “have absolutely nothing to do with politics”.

He also said the actions contain “good policies that advance President Trump’s agenda for the forgotten men and women of this country”.

The Agriculture Department also defended the move to include letters from the president in food aid boxes supplied through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, saying “politics has played zero role” in the initiative which was “purely about helping farmers and distributors get food to Americans in need during this unprecedented time”.

Mr Trump has taken further steps to send federal aid to voting blocs identified by his campaign as crucial to his election, including seniors. Last month, the president announced he would send coupons amounting to a reported $200 for seniors as part of an effort to curb out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications.

And while the administration has said the president was prioritizing the health and economic stability of the country, those comments appeared to contrast Mr Trump’s sudden decision to pull out of stimulus talks in recent days.

Global stock markets were spinning throughout the week after Mr Trump posted a storm of tweets in which he said he was “ready to sign” a “Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200)."

The head of the Federal Reserve has called for more relief earlier this year in order to recover from the unprecedented economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

An estimated 11 million people remain unemployed after the president declared a national emergency surrounding the novel virus in March and millions of businesses across the country were forced to close.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Thursday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for about 40 minutes and discussed whether there was any chance Democrats could revive stimulus negotiations with the White House and GOP leaders. The House speaker is seeking a comprehensive bill to address the economic downturn and has noted the contradictory statements from multiple White House officials about whether the president is also seeking a comprehensive bill, similar to the CARES act passed 195 days ago. 

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in