Despite millions of Americans losing their pandemic unemployment benefits — which expired on Saturday — the $900 billion stimulus deal passed by Congress has yet to be signed by President Donald Trump. The president, who is spending the holiday golfing in Florida, last week balked that the relief bill, which would extend those benefits programs, includes stimulus checks for $600, well short of the $2,000 he now says he’d like to have.
The delays have sparked widespread concern and frustration, including from Willie Geist, anchor of Sunday Today and co-host of Morning Joe. On Sunday, the newsman took to Twitter to call out both Congress and Trump for holding up financial assistance to Americans like the struggling owner of his favorite local diner.
I picked up breakfast at our diner today, caught up with the owner like always, and asked how she’s doing. She shook her head as her eyes welled above her mask. I knew what that meant. She turned her back to her staff saying she didn’t want to cry in front of her employees. 1/
— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) December 27, 2020
“I picked up breakfast at our diner today, caught up with the owner like always, and asked how she’s doing,” Geist wrote. “She shook her head as her eyes welled above her mask. I knew what that meant. She turned her back to her staff saying she didn’t want to cry in front of her employees.
“She, like millions of others, is desperate for help from the federal government. She said the first round of PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] saved her business, but that was a long time ago and she’s on the brink again. She has followed the rules and spent money to build outdoor dining, but winter is here.”
Geist called Congress’s lengthy negotiations over the bill “infuriating,” and said it was “unconscionable” for Trump to not sign it into law.
“We all have done our best to support small businesses this year, but it’s not enough,” he tweeted. “It is infuriating that it took Congress this long to get a relief bill and unconscionable that the president sits on it while our friends and neighbors fight for their lives. Shame.”
Geist isn’t the only TV personality speaking out. After appearing on Fox News’s The Five last week to chastise Trump for not taking action, Geraldo Rivera tweeted on Saturday that the president has “behaved like an entitled frat boy” since losing the election.
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