The White House sent its advisers out in full force on Sunday for the political talk show circuit. While Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer denounced the executive actions taken by the president Saturday, White House adviser Larry Kudlow joined CNN and ABC News for the administration's side of the debate.
The result was possibly more damaging to the president's proclamations than if they said nothing at all. While host Dana Bash asked a series of questions related to the details within the executive orders, Kudlow came off like someone who has just found out about the orders for the first time.
Larry Kudlow seems to be very confused about how much money unemployed people would actually receive under Trump's proposal pic.twitter.com/KampXT6N7I— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 9, 2020
When asked about the payroll tax "holiday" or cut, Kudlow provided very confusing answers about how long the reduction would be in effect and how it would affect the future revenue for Social Security and Medicare. "When he referred to 'permanent,' I think what he was saying is that the deferral of the payroll tax to the end of the year will be made permanent," Kudlow tells Bash. "It will be forgiven. The tax is not going to go away."
Bash then tells him that Trump did say that he would do away with the tax in the next year if he saw fit, which Kudlow seems to disagree with during the interview. "I believe he was referring to doing away with the payback of the deferral," Kudlow said. "[We] will take any steps possible to forgive this deferral. That's what he was actually saying. We will protect Social Security. We will protect Medicare."
The confusion continued while discussing the proposed unemployment extension order and the uncertainty over the $400 Trump mentioned during the briefing and where the states fall in the plan. Not only is the amount in question, but it has also gotten larger.
"At a minimum, we will put in 300 bucks and the states will continue with their 400 bucks. But I think all they have to do is put up an extra dollar and we'll be able to throw in the extra $100," Kudlow said. "But on average, Dana, it'll run to about $800." Bash then tells Kudlow that the order says the total will be $400, with 75 percent from the federal government and 25 percent from the states. This did not clear up the situation.
"Well, we will stand ready to re-purpose if states put in a little bit more is all it amounts to," he added. "Right now, that number's going to run around $700. I think they'll get to $800. Some states can get above $800 with our federal help."
LARRY KUDLOW: The president felt he had to take action on an eviction moratorium.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But his executive order doesn't actually include an eviction moratorium.
KUDLOW: ... look, that's not entirely true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is true. I just read it. pic.twitter.com/f9Hc4J9FHw— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 9, 2020
Kudlow also noted that the plan is to rely on unspent money authorized by the CARES Act, which some of the states have not used. He also said the administration would be "re-purposing funds from other areas" to cover the federal portion of the unemployment benefit. This continued on ABC with George Stephanopoulos, with Kudlow calling the executive actions "temporary" and blaming Democrats from walking away from "compromise."
The ABC host did note that Trump's actions don't actually support the moratorium on evictions, only opening a review. According to Kudlow, this review is where the eviction will be stopped, but the logistics of such an undertaking seems daunting.
Kudlow does expect to go to court over the executive orders, but stood by the president and the executive actions. "We're going to go ahead with our actions anyway. Our counsel's office, the Treasury Department believes it has the authority to temporarily suspend tax collections."
Others didn't feel as confident and let their feelings out online. Scroll down to see some of the reactions to Kudlow's confusing appearances.
Between Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro, the WH might as well be putting Diamond and Silk on these shows each weekend (especially with people like Chuck Todd).— The Emperor's New Tone (@here4tehbeer) August 9, 2020
“Those words are only the ones on the page, George... you don’t see the words that aren’t written there. You can’t just ignore the invisible words, George. That’s simply not fair.”— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) August 9, 2020
It’s good to see a reporter reporting facts and pushing back. Imagine if this had been the standard for the last 4 or 5 years.— Yes! Dogs Are (@FinerThanPeople) August 9, 2020
I will never get tired of Jonathan's faces during that interview...because he represented many of us!!— Sandy Kay (@sandykaykay) August 9, 2020
And I bet a lot of those same people are still wondering when they'll see the $4000/month tax savings they were told they'd get from the big "tax cut" 2 yrs ago.— RJ(TO) (@RJTO65) August 9, 2020
Kudlow does Foster Brooks better than Foster Brooks did.— Ted "We ALL Wear Masks" Heller (@TedHeller) August 9, 2020
Trump, a landlord, as is his son-in-law, Jared, doesn't want eviction moratoriums. Pretty simple. But they'll lie and say they have one anyway.— Jimmy from the BleedingBX (@BloodwingBX) August 9, 2020
All due respect to George, to all the hosts of media political hosts (except todd)
Your time would be better served reading aloud the orders and pointing out the issues, the lies, the blatant raiding of social safety funds versus having these hacks on and amplifying their lies— BgMac: Mask Up! trump OK w/ RU killing Soldiers (@bgmacneill) August 9, 2020
Bottom line-kudlow doesn’t have a clue and he’s been wrong so often in the past that you can pretty much count on him being wrong again— Barbe Levitan (@bjatmcw) August 9, 2020