Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Trump doling out aid before election

Published:Thursday | October 1, 2020 | 10:57 AM
President Donald Trump gestures as he steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport, Wednesday, September 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

CHICAGO (AP) — It’s almost as if he’s writing a personal check.

In recent days, President Donald Trump has promised millions of Medicare recipients that — thanks to him — they’ll soon be getting an “incredible” $200 card in the mail to help them pay for prescriptions.

He’s called himself “the best thing” that ever happened to Puerto Rico, while releasing long-stalled aid. Trump has also taken to showcasing the $28 billion he “gave” to farmers hard hit by the trade war with China.

“What I’ve done for them, with the $28 billion for the farmers, and that includes you,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Newport News, Virginia, last week — without mentioning that the aid was needed to offset the hit farmers took from his trade standoff with China.

“That includes tobacco, that includes a lot of things, but that includes your farmers.”

As Trump talks up heaps of federal aid flowing to key constituency groups in the lead-up to the November elections, he rarely mentions Congress’ role in the appropriation of those dollars.

The president was in the battleground state of North Carolina last week when he proposed the idea of $200 drug cards for Medicare recipients — a move that comes as polls show slipping support for the president among older voters. Government officials say key details, like when and how the drug benefit would be paid for, are still being fleshed out.

“I will always take care of our wonderful senior citizens,” Trump said.

“Joe Biden won’t be doing this.”

Earlier in September, Trump used a rally in northern Wisconsin, a battleground he narrowly won in 2016, to announce another $13 billion in pandemic aid to assist farmers. That came after Trump announced the release of $13 billion in assistance to repair years-old hurricane damage in Puerto Rico and pledged to restore its economy.

He didn’t mention his past harsh comments about the island and its leaders as he looks to curry favour with Puerto Rican voters elsewhere in the US, particularly in crucial Florida.

“I’m the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico,” Trump said without a trace of irony.

“No one even close.”

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