Day 1,264: Trump cronies collected millions in PPP money, but he’d rather to talk about his confederate flag pride

Donald Trump is a New Yorker, who likely rarely set foot in a southern state that didn’t have a Trump-branded property in it before the 2016 campaign.

So while it’s not odd to see him be profoundly racist, it is strange to see him choose Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag as hills to die on. (The latter of which even Mississippi recently decided was a step too far.)

Monday morning, Trump chose to attack NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the sport, for fellow drivers standing by his side when a noose appeared in his garage stall. (The FBI later determined that the noose had been in the stall for at least eight months and Wallace’s assignment to that stall was an unfortunate coincidence. While the rope was definitely tied into a noose, neither Wallace nor NASCAR could have known it wasn’t intentionally placed when the investigation began.)

Trump was also upset about NASCAR’s decision to ban confederate flags from flying at their events.

While Trump claimed that the noose misunderstanding and flag ban have caused ratings to be their lowest ever, ratings are actually up.

Trump is choosing to have everyone focus on an issue that would be horrifyingly bad for most politicians, because corruption and 130,000 dead Americans from COVID-19 is worse. His press secretary left no doubt what Trump is digging his heels in on.

Meanwhile, the Payment Protection Program was designed to incentivize small businesses from laying off employees by giving them forgivable loans for meeting certain criteria in the wake of COVID-19. Instead, Trump’s rich cronies are raking in the cash. The Trump administration has tried to obfuscate who is taking the money.

Now, many of those names and companies are trickling out and showing that Trump’s family and allies are taking in a bunch of cash themselves.

Businesses tied to President Donald Trump’s family and associates stand to receive as much as $21 million in government loans designed to shore up payroll expenses for companies struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to federal data released Monday.

A hydroponic lettuce farm backed by Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., applied for at least $150,000 in Small Business Administration funding. Albert Hazzouri, a dentist frequently spotted at Mar-a-Lago, asked for a similar amount. A hospital run by Maria Ryan, a close associate of Trump lawyer and former mayor Rudy Giuliani, requested more than $5 million. Several companies connected to the president’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, could get upward of $6 million.

Monday’s list included a Manhattan law firm whose marquee attorney has fiercely defended Trump for almost two decades. Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP — whose managing partner, Marc Kasowitz, was at one point the president’s top lawyer in the special counsel’s Russia investigation — was set to receive between $5 million and $10 million from Citibank, data show. (The largest loan a company could seek was $10 million.)

Large sums of money to the family of Trump’s Secretary of Transportation, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

A shipping business started by Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family received at least $350,000 in loans set aside for companies struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data published Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Chao’s parents launched Foremost Group in New York in 1964. The company is currently run by her father and sister, according to the company’s website. Its application for a Paycheck Protection Program loan was approved on April 15, the SBA’s data shows. While the exact loan amount was not included in the report, the SBA said a loan between $350,000 and $1 million was approved, enabling the company to save 20 jobs.

Members of Congress’ ventures collected PPP checks too, including a winery Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has invested in.

Some entities connected to Congress, which authored and passed the PPP program, also benefited from it — including, seemingly, lawmakers themselves. Businesses owned by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) received up to $800,000 in loans, per the new disclosure, and four other members of Congress had already reportedly got PPP loans through their business ventures. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), in his most recent financial disclosure filing, reported owning between $50,000 and $100,000 in equity in a California winery, Phase 2 Cellars. That winery received a PPP loan worth between $1 million and $2 million

Trump has decided racism is a better card to play than corruption. And in this case that means a Yankee standing up for the Southern Cross and statues of Robert E. Lee so that Americans ignore a golf course’s worth of dead bodies and government cash coming out of his pockets and those of his family and friends.

1,264 days in, 198 to go

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TrumpTimer watches, tracks and reports about Donald Trump and his administration’s policies every day. TrumpTimer is also counting down until January 20, 2021.

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TrumpTimer watches, tracks and reports about Donald Trump and his administration’s policies every day. TrumpTimer is also counting down until January 20, 2021.

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