President Donald Trump opened a can of worms in Georgian politics to more than triple the dollar amount on direct checks that lawmakers sent Americans. Republican pollster and political advisor Frank Luntz told CNBC on Tuesday.
After Trump threatened to stall a bulk spending package containing the $ 900 billion Covid bailout in Congress because of his displeasure over $ 600 stimulus checks, Trump signed the bill on Sunday. However, on rare occasions, he has teamed up with Democrats to demand payouts of $ 2,000 to citizens.
“The President made a very wise decision by agreeing to sign [the] Legislation, “Luntz told Squawk Box.” He made a very bad decision by opening the $ 2,000 checks because it will be a nightmare for these two Republican Senators to vote against Donald Trump or against Conservatives. “her condition.”
With most Republicans and Conservatives not approving the proposal to increase the payout, it sparked a storm within the party as Georgia voters voted on critical runoff elections in the Senate next week.
The question is forcing Republicans to consider whether to add more to the national debt or deny Americans a financial recovery, given the ongoing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are completing the retired tenure of Senator Johnny Isakson, are fighting to hold off two Democratic challengers for their seats in the January 5 runoff. The races in the Senate will decide on the majority in the Chamber, have attracted a lot of attention. The GOP has a 52-48 lead in the Senate. If the Democrats win both Georgia contests, there will be a 50-vote tie, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris playing the leading role after taking office on Jan. 20.
Trump’s drive to increase stimulus checks has complicated competitions in the normally reliably red state, and the complication was seen in Loeffler’s comments on the matter on Fox News Tuesday morning. After the Democratically controlled house, with the support of 44 Republican members, voted to increase direct payments to $ 2,000, the measure is expected to face an uphill battle in the Senate Chamber despite Trump’s support.
When asked if she would support the bill to increase payouts, Loeffler spoke broadly about her support for the president, but did not specifically say whether she was in favor of the measure.
“The president has fought for our country from day one. He continues to fight for every single American,” she said. “I stood by the president 100% of the time. I’m proud of it, and I said we really need to bring relief to the Americans now, and I will support that.”
While Trump has said the Senate “will start the process” to increase the dollar amount on checks, it is not clear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was a target of the President’s anger following his election in November loss , will schedule a vote.
McConnell released a statement Sunday praising Trump’s decision to sign the $ 900 billion aid package, but did not mention the president’s request.
With the Georgia runoff election in a week, Luntz said the GOP was making a “wise decision” to continue the strategy in the state. Trump, who spent the vacation season in Florida, is expected to visit Dalton, Georgia on Monday, the eve of the election, in hopes of giving Loeffler and Perdue a boost.
President-elect Joe Biden and Harris have visited the state to support candidates Raphael Warnock, who challenges Loeffler, and Jon Ossoff, who competes against Perdue. None of the candidates received the 50% threshold required to win seats in the November general election, resulting in a runoff in every race.
“Donald Trump is needed in Georgia to make sure these two [seats] stay Republican, “said Luntz.
Located about 90 miles north of Atlanta, Dalton will be key to the Republicans’ chances of holding onto these seats, he added.
“To get a high turnout, what is happening in Atlanta and the Atlanta suburbs can be offset,” Luntz said of the area that helped turn the state around for Biden. “I have to give you the honor of making the right geographic choice, but the fact that the president just went under [to campaign in Georgia] twice.”
Luntz said 3% of Trump voters in the state do not want to vote in the runoff, citing their distrust of the political system after the 2020 election. Trump has refused to allow Biden to run weeks after the electoral college ballot had submitted to confirm the results of the presidential race.
“Honestly, he plays golf in Florida. He should get in his helicopter, get on Air Force One, and even fly unannounced to Georgia because the president still has influence,” Luntz said. “He can still produce voters who wouldn’t vote for anyone and they will need him.”