Donald Trump wrapped his million-dollar fundraising weekend Sunday with an event at the New Jersey beach home of his late friend Stanley Chera, who died of the coronavirus in April, while his aides back in Washington D.C. struggled to explain how the president’s executive orders would bring relief to Americans suffering from the pandemic.
Trump arrived the home of Chera, a New York real estate developer, on Sunday afternoon. On Saturday he flew to Southampton for two fundraisers in the posh beach town after he signed four executive orders and memorandum that he said would expand supplemental unemployment benefits, ease a moratorium on evictions, suspend student loan repayments, and pause the payroll tax.
President Trump’s weekend was a combination of work, play and political glad-handling. He arrived at his Bedminister, New Jersey, golf club on Thursday evening and was seen playing golf on Friday morning by members who posted images on Instagram.
President Donald Trump arrives in Long Branch, New Jersey, on Sunday for a fundraiser
President Trump held the fundraiser at the New Jersey beach home of his late friend Stanley Chera, who died of COVID in April
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro defended Trump as ‘the hardest-working president in history’
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro defended Trump as ‘the hardest-working president in history.’
‘This is the hardest-working president in history,’ he said Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘He works 24/7. He can be in Bedminster, Mar-a-Lago, the Oval Office, or anywhere in between. He can be at the Whirlpool factory like we were on Thursday, celebrating working men and women benefiting from tariffs. He’s working 24/7.’
Navarro said the president was forced to take executive action because of partisan politics.
‘The problem here is Capitol Hill, the swamp. The two houses that are too far apart. I mean the Lord, and the Founding Fathers created executive orders, because of partisan bickering and divided government. That’s what we have here,’ he said.
Stanley Chera (left), pictured with his wife Frieda (right), died of coronavirus
Trump, who gave press conferences on Friday and Saturday from his club, did make a public statement ahead of his arrival at Chera’s home. The beach house, called ‘Chez Fleur’ – which is French for House of Flowers – sits on the North Atlantic Jersey shore.
Chera died from complications of COVID-19 aged 78 in April and Trump praised his friend in remarks at the White House after his death. having been admitted to the intensive care unit of New York Presbyterian Hospital in late March.
‘Stanley Chera was a friend of mine for a long time. He was a great real estate person, great, great, sort of a legend in New York real estate,’ he said.
‘He went to the hospital and never came out,’ Trump said. ‘He went into a coma. He was unconscious for a long period of time and he never made it. A great man.’
The president, during his March coronavirus briefings at the White House, also talked of Chera when he spoke of the personal impact of the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 5 million Americans and killed more than 162,000 people.
‘I had a friend who went to a hospital the other day. He’s a little older, and he’s heavy, but he’s tough person,’ Trump said in March.
‘And he went to the hospital, and a day later, he’s in a coma…he’s not doing well,’ he said shortly before Chera died.
The Sunday fundraiser follows two events in Southampton that raked in $15 million for the Trump Victory fund – a joint fundraising committee that benefits the president’s re-election campaign, the Republican Party and several state parties.
One event was at the Hampton home of Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle while the other was the beach-front home of billionaire former hedge fund manager John Paulson.
Earlier Saturday the president played golf at his New Jersey club with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
President Trump on Saturday announced a series of executive orders designed to bring relief to Americans but his aides spent Sunday defending them
President Trump signed four executive actions designed to bring COVID relief
President Trump arrives in Southampton on Saturday evening for two fundraisers
President Trump attended a fundraiser on Saturday at the Southampton home of Kimberly Guilfoyle (above) and Donald Trump Jr.
President Trump was spotted playing golf at his Bedminister club on Friday by fellow golfers who posted images on Instagram
As the president raised money for his re-election on Sunday, his aides attempted to explain Trump’s attempt to circumvent Congressional Democrats, which brought a flurry of questions about the legality of his orders and their effectiveness.
‘They’re absurdly unconstitutional,’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’
Administration officials, in their own Sunday show appearances, argued the relief was coming to millions of Americans financially impacted by the pandemic. But they struggled to explain the details, such as the president’s promised $400-a-week extra unemployment insurance that requires money from the states in order to happen.
‘It’s $400 a week, and we’re doing it without the Democrats,’ Trump said in his Saturday announcement, asking states to cover 25 percent of the cost. It was not immediately clear where the federal portion would come from – though the president suggested he was looking to use unspent funds from previous coronavirus relief bills – and Trump said it would be up to states to determine how much, if any of it to fund.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow admitted on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ the administration still needed to find out if governors were on board with the plan. Many states saw their budgets decimated by the virus.
‘We will probably find that out today and tomorrow, as we make our canvass,’ he said on Sunday.
But not all governors were sure they could come up with the funds.
Asked if Ohio could afford its contribution to the new unemployment insurance, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine told CNN: ‘The answer is, I don’t know yet.’
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shrugged off concerns about the legality of the president’s actions.
‘We’ve cleared with the Office of Legal Counsel all these actions before they went to the president. The president knew unemployment insurance was ending. He said, let’s continue at $400. By the way, the 25 percent from the states, they can either take that out of the money we’ve already given them or the president can waive that,’ he said on ‘Fox News Sunday.
‘We’ve been told by the states they can get this up and running immediately. And I would say, if the Democrats want to challenge us in court and hold up unemployment benefits to those hardworking Americans that are out of a job because of Covid, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do,’ he added.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was among those aides on the Sunday shows defending Trump’s orders
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said if there are lawsuits against Trump’s orders it would delay aid and Democrats would have a lot of explaining to do
Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Trump’s orders ‘absurdly unconstitutional’
But Pelosi argued states could afford what the president wanted because they were cash-strapped by dealing with the pandemic.
‘He is saying states have the money. No, they don’t. They have expenses from the coronavirus. They have lost revenue,’ she said on CNN.
After the White House released the text of the president’s orders on Sundays, questions arose about the details, not all of which matched what the president sold them as in his announcement.
For example, President Trump said he was issuing a moratorium on evictions but what the White House released was a federal policy to minimize evictions and encouraged officials to find statutory ways to help homeowners and renters.
The president also announced he was suspending the payroll tax cut, going retroactively from August 1 through the end of 2020. But all his order does is defer the tax payment, it doesn’t erase it. Trump did say if he’s re-elected he will extend the suspension and defer the repayments.
It’s unclear if the president will be able to do the suspension without Congress as the constitution gives the power to tax to that institution. Congressional Democrats and many Republicans object to any cuts in the payroll tax cut as it funds Social Security and Medicare, two of the most expensive government entitlement programs on the books.
Mnuchin dismissed concerns about the financial cost of the president’s plan.
‘We’ll deal with the budget deficit when we get the economy back to where it was before,’ he said.