His demand for $2,000 stimulus checks is a direct rejection of the $600 checks that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had personally proposed and negotiated with Democrats and Republicans. Now, Trump’s rejection of the deal has confounded many leaders on Capitol Hill because they had thought Mnuchin negotiated the package on behalf of the president. The treasury chief’s standing with many lawmakers is now in tatters just days before a full-blown crisis is set to occur.
The president’s denunciation of the agreement represented a stunning public broadside against his own treasury secretary, who for four years loyally shielded the president’s tax returns, endured repeated presidential tirades in private, and defended even Trump’s most incendiary and contradictory remarks. Through it all, Mnuchin had emerged with the unique ability to walk a tightrope between Trump and congressional leaders, serving as an emissary in difficult negotiations. That all ended on Tuesday, when Trump posted a video on Twitter ridiculing the agreement…
Mnuchin had described the bipartisan deal as “fabulous” one day before Trump called it a “disgrace.”
“Loyalty and assistance to President Trump generally gets rewarded with humiliation. This is how it ends for a lot of people who work for the guy,” said Brian Riedl, a conservative policy expert at the Manhattan Institute, a right-leaning think tank. “Secretary Mnuchin has been completely embarrassed.”