President Donald Trump on Sunday refused to say if he would bar his own company from receiving stimulus money included in any potential bailout package Congress passed to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve learned, let’s just see what happens,” the president told reporters at the White House when asked about the Trump Organization. “Because we have to save some of these great companies.”
Senators are currently locked in negotiations over a massive economic relief package that could cost upward of $1.8 trillion in an effort to help stave off financial disaster. Both parties have said they want a sweeping stimulus that would cover concerns across America — protecting small businesses, sending cash payments to millions and upping unemployment benefits — but some are concerned current proposals include too many protections for big business without equal measures for workers.
Democrats on Sunday refused to back a GOP-led proposal, which some lawmakers said included a “slush fund” for large corporations that would be doled out by the Treasury Department. Critics argued the proposal would give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wide authority to hand out funds without any guarantees those companies wouldn’t then fire employees or roll back their health care.
“There’s too much money with no oversight,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said after Senate Democrats blocked the stimulus plan, per The Washington Post.
While declining to give a firm answer about the Trump Organization, which owns many hotels and golf clubs already impacted by the coronavirus, the president also said he hadn’t gotten enough credit for refusing to take home a salary while in office.
“Nobody said ‘thank you,’” the president said, also noting it was “very hard for rich people to run for office.”
Reporters also asked Trump whether he had sold any stocks in recent weeks. Reports have emerged indicating several lawmakers, including Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), sold hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in holdings after Congress began receiving private briefings on the coronavirus outbreak. (All three have denied any impropriety.)
“I don’t have stock,” Trump said. “I own things.”
“Nasty question, and yet it deserves to be asked I guess,” he added. “What I’ve done, by deciding to run … it costs me billions of dollars to become president.”