Recall that Trump Derangement Syndrome was in high gear on a national scale and in the media when a week ago, just as coronavirus stimulus checks began going out to Americans, the administration announced a break in protocol - saying President Donald Trump's signature would be on all paper checks mailed out from US Treasury.
Liberal critics derided that the unusual move was nothing but an ode to the president's ego, while Congressional Democrats hit back, with spokeswoman for the House Ways and Means Committee Democrats, Erin Hatch, saying “The committee was not consulted about this,” and that “we do not want the checks to be delayed for a second to add the signature.”
The New York Times reported at the time (among many others) what appears to have now been proven false: "The decision to have Mr. Trump’s name on the checks, a break in protocol, was made by the Treasury Department after Mr. Trump suggested the idea to Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, according to a department official." Treasury Secretary Mnuchin flatly contradicted that notion Sunday morning on CNN's State of the Union:
"That was my idea" -- Steve Mnuchin tells Jake Tapper that he, not Trump, was the one who wanted to put Trump's name on coronavirus relief checks pic.twitter.com/ubk40UUK75— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 19, 2020
In the interview Mnuchin not only defends the move but tells host Jake Tapper that adding Trump signature to the physical checks was a “terrific symbol to the American public.”
Likely it wasn't at all what Tapper expected, given he introduced the controversial topic with a gotcha question:
“For the first time, ever President Trump’s name is going to appear on an IRS check – that’s being put in the memo line because the president isn’t authorized to sign the checks.”
“Did the president personally suggest this idea?” Tapper asked.
Mnuchin replied, “Well, let me just correct you and say the checks have not gone out yet, and the reason why the checks have not gone out, is we’re hoping that more people, as I said, will go to IRS.gov. It’s much safer to send out direct deposits.”
“As it relates to the president’s name on it, the president could have been authorized to sign the checks. That would have slowed things down,” the treasury secretary added. “We didn’t want to do that. We did put the president’s name on the check. That was my idea.”
Mnuchin concluded: “He is the president, and, I think it’s a terrific symbol to the American public.”
Amid a groundswell of liberal anger over the claim that adding Trump's personal signature was all about stroking the president's ego, we doubt there will be any official corrections made to media reports of the past days, however, Mnuchin's testimony just definitively batted it all down as fake news.