- President Donald Trump tweeted out a video he recorded from the White House Tuesday night expressing criticism for the COVID-19 relief bill and the $1.4 trillion omnibus bill with which it was packaged.
- Trump suggested that he would not sign the relief package unless $600 relief payments were increased.
- In the video he told Congress to "send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID-19 relief package, and maybe that administration will be me, and we will get it done."
- Many White House aides and advisers warn that Trump refuses to believe he lost the election and has recently entertained outlandish suggestions — including martial law — to stay in power.
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Will he or won't he?
More than a week after the Electoral College certified Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election over Donald Trump, the president is still publicly vacillating over whether he'll actually leave, and suggested that he would be a part of the next administration.
In a taped message from the White House posted to the president's Twitter Tuesday night, Trump went through some of the funding allocations made in the $1.4 trillion omnibus bill that is attached to the COVID-19 relief bill. Trump presented the allocations, including foreign aid, money for fish and wildlife preservation, and new Smithsonian museums, as if they were part of the COVID-19 relief bill, when, in fact, those provisions are parts of several other bills within the omnibus.
Trump closed out his four-minute message by saying that he was unhappy with several COVID-19 relief provisions, including the decision to pay qualifying Americans a one-time $600 check. He intimated that he would not sign the bill unless it was amended to "increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000."
He then told Congress to "send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID-19 relief package, and maybe that administration will be me, and we will get it done."
This is hardly the first time Trump has suggested that he'd remain in power into the next term. Even prior to the election, Trump told reporters that he couldn't promise a peaceful transition of power and suggested that there would be no transition anyway.
"Get rid of the ballots and…we'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it. You know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know better than anybody else," he said in late September.
More recently, White House aides have told reporters that Trump refuses to acknowledge his loss.
"He's been fed so much misinformation that I think he actually thinks this thing was stolen from him," a Trump adviser told CNN.
Jack O'Donnell, who worked with Trump in the 1980s and subsequently wrote a book about the president, titled "Trumped," told the BBC: "In his mind, he will not have lost. He will never concede. It will always be: 'It was taken from me.'"
Last week, Trump floated appointing a special counsel to investigate voter fraud. The counsel, he suggested, could be headed up by Sidney Powell, a former lawyer for the campaign team known for her outlandish conspiracy theories. But according to The Daily Beast, he recently told Powell he won't name her special counsel.
He also entertained an idea suggested by former national security adviser Michael Flynn during an appearance on conservative network Newsmax that the president could institute martial law in four of the most closely contested states and do a "rerun" of the election.
"People out there talk about martial law like it's something that we've never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times," Flynn said.
For his part, outgoing Attorney General William Barr said on Monday that he wouldn't entertain appointing a special counsel to investigate the election, or Trump's other political cudgel, Hunter Biden.
"If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, I would name one. But I haven't and I'm not going to," Barr said.
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