Trump accused Sasse earlier Monday of going “rogue” after the Republican senator harshly criticized the president for signing four new executive actions Saturday that the senator said overstepped Trump’s authority. Sasse called them “unconstitutional slop.”
Trump gloated that Sasse “needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination” in his state.
“I understand that you’re mad,” Sasse politely began in a statement on his campaign Twitter account. But then he unleashed this: “No president — whether named Obama or Trump or Biden or AOC — has unilateral power to rewrite immigration law or to cut taxes or to raise taxes. This is because America doesn’t have kings.”
He also snapped that he “never asked” for Trump’s endorsement — “nor did I use it in the campaign.”
Trump’s executive actions included deferring the payroll tax that exclusively funds Social Security and Medicare, and cutting the enhanced unemployment benefit from $600 to $400 a week (provided states pay $100 of that). Sasse slammed the move in a statement as “unconstitutional,” adding that Trump “does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law.”
Trump threatened to “terminate” the payroll tax if he is reelected, which would eliminate funding for Social Security and Medicare, America’s bedrock safety-net programs. Only Congress can cut taxes.
Trump’s executive actions appear to be frozen in legal limbo and ambiguous language.
Governors are also complaining that their cash-strapped states can’t afford the extra $100 a week in unemployment benefits that Trump promised on their behalf. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) compared the extra burden to “handing a drowning man an anchor.”
Trump’s measures are partly a gambit to get the Democrats and Republicans back to the table to negotiate a larger COVID-19 package. But that hasn’t yet worked.