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Trump Says He’d Support Allowing Continued Unemployment Benefits Even If States Don’t Pay Any of the Costs

Sunday, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum supporting an additional unemployment benefit but also saying that states will need to agree to foot part of the bill in order for the federal government to pay any of the additional benefits at all, and then reversed that a few hours later while talking to reporters, saying that federal government could cover all the costs — if the governors made a request, drawing concerns about partisan favoritism.

Trump’s memorandum contemplated a $400 weekly additional unemployment benefit with the states expected to pay 25%, or $100, each week, or the unemployed people in their states would receive no money from the feds, and would only receive whatever benefits their state was able to pay.

What Trump said to the reporters on the issue, however, was that the federal government could either pay 75% or all, depending on the state, suggesting that he expected them to “make an application” to request the funds:

We have a system where we can do 100% or we can do 75%, they pay 25, and it will depend on the state, and they will make an application. We will look at it, and we’ll make a decision. So you know, they may be, they’ll pay nothing in some instances or maybe they’ll — a little bit like the National Guard, like the National Guard, as you know. Sometimes we’ll pay all of it depending on the tragedy, or whatever it may be, the disaster. Sometimes the state will pay 40%, 25%, 10% or nothing — depending on how it works out.

CNN’s Boris Sanchez noted that a lot of the states “are nearly broke right now,” due to the pandemic, and asked Republican strategist and CNN commentator Doug Heye for his thoughts.

“The devil is in the details” with Trump, said Heye. “When he says it depends on the state, it probably really depends on the state and where they voted last time and potentially where they’ll vote this time as to whether or not something would be fully funded or they’ll be left out to dry.”

“I’m old enough to remember when Republicans were against mandates and would speak out against executive overreach and executive orders,” Heye quipped.

“But ultimately, this is a Hail Mary that the president is throwing,” he added. “He sees the same polling that everybody else does. He knows that — or at least the campaign and the White House know — that he’s massively unpopular as far as the handling of Covid.  And so he has to do whatever he can to be seen taking some kind of action while Congress is at a stalemate. With potentially no college football potentially this season, these may be the only Hail Marys we get to see.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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