Trump nearly torpedoed his own stimulus package to get revenge on Mitch McConnell after the 2020 election, book says

This combination of pictures created on February 16, 2021 shows US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, October 27, 2020 and US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 5, 2020.Saul Loeb/Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images

  • Trump almost sank an economic relief deal that his administration negotiated out of spite for McConnell.

  • The episode was chronicled in “The Divider,” a new book obtained by Insider ahead of its publication.

  • Trump grew enraged at McConnell for not backing up his lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

Former president Donald Trump nearly sank a $900 billion coronavirus rescue package out of spite at then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the end of 2020, according to a forthcoming book from Peter Baker of The New York Times and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

Trump had grown furious at McConnell for accepting the results of the 2020 presidential election and declaring it a settled matter. But Trump doubled down on his lies that he won the election, challenging the results publicly and in the courts and lashing out at anyone who didn’t agree with him.

The targets of Trump’s frustration apparently included McConnell. After a grueling stretch of Christmas negotiations on Capitol Hill that yielded a federal COVID-19 rescue plan with $600 stimulus checks, Trump threatened to reject the plan unless it had $2,000 stimulus payments for most Americans. It caught most in Washington by surprise, given that the Trump administration had helped assemble the legislation behind closed doors.

“The veto threat was a jab at Mitch McConnell, who had drawn the president’s ire for declaring the election over,” Baker and Glasser wrote in “The Divider,” obtained by Insider ahead of its Sept. 20 publication. “By demanding $2,000 payments, Trump was embracing a proposal long resisted by McConnell’s Republicans.”

A McConnell spokesperson declined to comment.

The legislation was in limbo for two days until David Perdue — then a Republican senator from Georgia locked in a tight election runoff — visited him at Mar-a-Lago on Christmas Day. He pleaded with Trump to sign the bill.

“‘If you don’t sign this bill, I’m going to lose,'” Perdue told Trump, as he recounted to a colleague, Baker and Glasser write. Trump budged and signed it, ending the standoff.

The long-running political brawling between McConnell and Trump shows no signs of fading anytime soon. Trump has repeatedly attacked McConnell and urged GOP senators to depose him as the chief Senate Republican. McConnell, for his part, has only sporadically criticized Trump, and said he would endorse him if Trump were the 2024 Republican nominee.

Read the original article on Business Insider