Russell Vought, the conservative ideologue who served as OMB Director for the last six months of Donald Trump’s term, apparently doesn’t know that Republican governors of red states support the COVID relief bill Vought claimed is unneeded. Vought also refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.
Vought appeared on Fox News’ Your World show on Thursday, seemingly from an ivory tower of ignorance about the level of suffering in the U.S. First, he claimed we can’t afford Biden’s $2 trillion American Rescue Plan.
Host Neil Cavuto pointed out, “there was a lot of spending under the Trump administration. You were there for that.” But he also said, “Eventually, you have to pay this money back, right?”
Vought agreed and moved on to his next talking point: “We’re on the way out of [the pandemic] and why would we spend $1.9 trillion when there’s a trillion dollars that has not been spent? Why would we have a liberal boondoggle for blue states at a time when it’s only 9% COVID-related and we can’t afford it any longer as a country?”
Maybe Vought needs to get out more, like to a food bank. In January, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported, “Joblessness remains high and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat or are not caught up on rent payments.” Or maybe he just needs to talk to some Republicans not in Congress, including Republican mayors and governors. The Washington Post reported on February 14:
Instead of the “blue-state bailout” derided by GOP lawmakers, Republican mayors and governors say they see badly needed federal aid to keep police on the beat, to prevent battered Main Street businesses from going under and to help care for the growing ranks of the homeless and the hungry.
Surveys show that a broad majority of Americans support the assistance, including large numbers of Republicans. Only a minority among Republican voters agree with GOP lawmakers that the aid package is too large, polls have found.
Furthermore, that unspent trillion dollars is not money that can just be handed out instead. As PolitiFact noted, “a large share of the total is already allocated or scheduled to be spent.”
Cavuto suggested that we can’t afford the American Rescue Plan because of Trump’s deficits: “You guys were spending a lot of money even with the economic boom, we were seeing deficits worsen. … We’re running out of capital.”
Vought ticked off more conservative economic talking points: “We had to get the economy growing with the big tax cut. We had to rebuild the military, then we had to deal with the reality of the economic shock that we were faced with.”
Thanks to Trump, the national debt rose by about $7.8 trillion.
Cavuto tried to get Vought to say whether Biden won his election fair and square, but couldn’t.
“It’s important that we account for the widespread lack of confidence that people have with regard to this election and it’s important conversation,” Vought weaseled.
He also didn’t have the guts to say Trump won, either. When Cavuto said, “You don’t think Joe Biden was the duly elected winner of that election cause he got more votes in the end than Donald Trump?” Vought replied, “I didn’t say that.”
Then Vought ridiculously claimed, “We didn’t have an opportunity to really study the evidence and have it presented in court.”
FACT CHECK: Trump lost 61 out of 62 court cases (and the one he won was only about how much time voters in Pennsylvania had to “cure” their ballots) and his own attorney general said there was no evidence that Trump lost via voter fraud. How many more opportunities did he need?
“Just you personally, do you think that he [Trump] actually won the election?” Cavuto asked.
Vought refused to say. “The president did very well in the election. I’m not willing to say one way or the other because we had significant assertions about voter fraud that I believe are very credible,” Vought responded.
Cavuto ended the interview.
You can watch Vought prove his allegiance to Trump over America below, from the Feburary 25, 2021 Your World.