The Treasury Department has reportedly ordered that President Donald Trump's name be printed on every stimulus check sent out during the coronavirus pandemic — a process that could slow their delivery to Americans in need. The decision was just finalized on Monday, according to The Washington Post, shortly before the IRS was due to begin sending the $1,200 checks out to the American people. This is the first time a U.S. president's name has ever been included on an IRS disbursement.
Adding the president's name to the COVID-19 crisis stimulus checks may slow their delivery down by a matter of days, the Post reported. Direct deposit payments began arriving this week for those who had their banking information on file in their 2018 and 2019 taxes, but about 70 million Americans will be waiting on paper checks sent in the mail. Late on Monday, Treasury Department officials decided that those checks would have "President Donald J. Trump" printed on them.
News of this measure caused an uproar on social media. Many people got online to complain that this must be a simple vanity project, since there seems to be no practical purpose for having the president's name on the checks. The Post observed that "the decision is another sign of Trump's effort to cast his response to the pandemic in political terms."
Three different administration officials anonymously told reporters that Trump actually wanted to have his signature on the checks, not just his name. However, the president is not legally authorized to sign disbursements from the U.S. Treasury. Checks from the IRS to citizens are always been signed by civil servants to show that the money is nonpartisan.
This only makes the presence of the president's name on the paper checks that much more confusing, as people online argue. Here is what social media is saying about Trump's last minute change to the coronavirus relief checks going out soon.
This is why civics should be a course taken from 3rd thru 12th grades:
IMPOTUS has demanded that his signature appear on the aid checks being sent to American taxpayers.
He wants voters to believe the money came from him, in a transparent campaign stunt.https://t.co/jFZ27n3Guu— Dr. David A. Lustig (@drdave1999) April 15, 2020
Many people argued that Trump's name on the stimulus checks is a campaign stunt intended to boost his chances of re-election in November. Some wanted another authority to step in and stop it before it is too late — if it isn't already.
Confirmation From the Treasury
The Treasury Department must reveal if the Trump Administration is delaying Americans’ stimulus checks in order to unnecessarily print the President's name on them. As millions of families are struggling to get by, any unnecessary delay is unacceptable. https://t.co/iioFBOYLqO pic.twitter.com/24UGQMJRPf— Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (@CongressmanRaja) April 15, 2020
Others wanted to wait for the Treasury Department's response to this story before passing judgement. If it could be confirmed, they argued, it would be "unacceptable." Others retorted that the Treasury would simply ignore the question until it was buried in more news.
Message to Those in Need
If the check you’re waiting for is delayed, you can thank this man. He cared more about getting his name on the check than about your need for it. He’s worse than contemptible. https://t.co/O76gnmxgrj— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) April 15, 2020
Some said that this act in itself was a message from Trump to Americans in need that spoke volumes about his priorities. They hoped that voters would take note of this decision the next time they visited a voting booth.
Seriously, what is wrong with this guy?? We are truly in NEED but we still gotta stroke his ego to get help?!?!? This is the twilight zone. This is crazy!!— da1daOnly (@da1daOnlySela) April 15, 2020
To many people, this was a moment of sheer absurdity akin to an episode of The Twilight Zone. They took a moment to look back and wonder how we got to this point.
Donald Trump's name will appear on checks that might slightly mitigate the Donald Trump depression caused by the Donald Trump pandemic. We're supposed to put his name on everything, right? https://t.co/y9ZvXuRS9F— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) April 15, 2020
Many people noted that the president was trying to put his name on the checks as a kind of branding, so that people would associate him with their income. They argued that his name should also be affixed to the pandemic, the economic turmoil and other issues that have played out during his presidency.
Trump: I take no responsibility!
Also Trump: I want my name on every stimulus check so people know who to thank!— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) April 15, 2020
He took no responsibility for the coronavirus response. But demanded his name be on the checks:https://t.co/HpKLjvlcZf— Greg Miller (@gregpmiller) April 15, 2020
Similarly, many people said that the president should not be allowed to claim "responsibility" for the checks coming to Americans if he would not also claim responsibility for the current severity of the coronavirus pandemic.
Who is Paying Who?
BREAKING: Stimulus checks to Americans will likely be delayed because Donald Trump is forcing the IRS to print his name on them.
Note to idiot Trump supporters: The checks are not from Donald Trump. They are from YOU!#WednesdayWisdom— Ms. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) April 15, 2020
Finally, many people noted that the president's name on the stimulus checks was meaningless, since the money itself came from American taxpayers.