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Mnuchin spoils Tappers’ attempt to score points over Trump’s name on relief checks: ‘That was my idea’

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Hoping to score points against President Trump on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper asked Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin if the president had suggested that his name be printed on coronavirus stimulus checks.

And while Mnuchin shot a hole in that assertion, he stood by the call to have Trump’s name on the checks, characterizing it as “a terrific symbol to the American public.”

The media narrative has been to say delivery of the checks “is being slowed down by several days… so that President Trumps name can be printed on each check,” as seen in a tweet from Washington Post reporter Jenna Johnson linking to an article from the newspaper.

Citing the now-standard anonymous source, this time a “senior IRS official,” the Post reported that the Treasury Department “has ordered President Trump’s name printed on stimulus checks the Internal Revenue Service is rushing to send to tens of millions of Americans, a process that could slow their delivery by a few days.”

Taking the baton from the newspaper, Tapper asked Mnuchin about the claim.

“Stimulus checks for $1,200 are being mailed out to many Americans, some already got them through direct deposit, but they’re being mailed to help Americans through this crisis,” he said. “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 put a serious damper on the narrative about a delay, explaining to Tapper that no checks have gone out because the IRS is relying first and foremost on direct deposit.

“Well, let me just correct you and say the checks have not gone out yet,” the Treasury secretary noted. “And the reason why the checks have not gone out, is we are hoping that more people, as I said, will go to IRS.gov. It’s much safer to send out direct deposits.”

He further spiked any hopes Tapper may have had in diminishing the president when Mnuchin informed the CNN anchor that it was his idea to put the president’s name on the checks.

“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,” he explained. “We didn’t want to do that. We did put the president’s name on the check. That was my idea.”

Mnuchin added, “He is the president and I think it’s a terrific symbol to the American public.”

Tapper also asked Mnuchin about the difficulties some small businesses are having in acquiring the paycheck protection loans compared to large corporations and some chains, in reference to the next bill addressing coronavirus relief efforts.

“Is there anything in this bill that will help expedite this money to these people that might not have a preexisting relationship with a bank?” he asked.

“That’s something we did correct already last week,” Mnuchin stressed.

“We wanted to make sure that the banks fairly allocated across the board,” he added. “One thing I will say is, because there are know your customer requirements, it was always going to take banks a little bit longer. Again, we couldn’t be more pleased, the average loan size is about $250,000. So yes, there are some big businesses that was in the bill. But let me say, the majority of these are going to small businesses.”

Tom Tillison

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