Fox News anchor Sandra Smith on Wednesday confronted Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on whether or not she supports President Donald Trump’s demand for $2,000 stimulus checks, asking if the Trump-boosting senator was trying to ignore the question and not “commit to it.”
Prior to the president potentially blowing up the COVID-19 relief bill at the last minute by threatening to veto because the proposed $600 checks were “ridiculously low,” Blackburn was one of six Republican senators to vote no on the legislation. The Tennessee lawmaker complained at the time that the long-awaited relief package, combined with the omnibus spending bill, was “bloated” and “used a pandemic to push a socialistic agenda.”
Appearing on America’s Newsroom on Wednesday, Blackburn doubled down on her opposition to the bill, calling it a “redistribution of wealth” while noting that she has “fought against these direct cash payments” to individuals because it is a “pathway we don’t want to go down.”
Smith, meanwhile, asked Blackburn to explain why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the bill and the White House negotiators didn’t put a stop to the package if there was so much opposition to it.
“There is a lot of good in the bill and it is a negotiation,” Blackburn shrugged. “For me, the bill goes far too left and embraces too many of the socialistic-type ideas that I don’t appreciate and don’t stand for.”
The Fox anchor would eventually circle back to the president’s demand that Congress increase the amount of the stimulus checks, pressing Blackburn to reveal whether she backs such a measure. Democrats in both the House and Senate have openly embraced the president’s unexpected proposal, urging Trump to convince McConnell and Senate Republicans to make it a reality.
“Do you support the $2,000 payments that the president proposed?” Smith wondered aloud.
“What we need to do is get people back to work, kids back to school, liability protections for business because the best economic stimulus there is is a job,” the senator deflected, noticeably refusing to answer the question.
“Do you support the $2,000 payments to Americans that the president proposed? [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi said she’s for it,” the Fox anchor pushed back.
Blackburn took that as an opportunity to complain about Pelosi, claiming the speaker is “always going to be for giving more money away and redistribution of wealth” before insisting that she personally wants to get “targeted relief to individuals.” Smith, meanwhile, called her out for her non-answer.
“You have to talk about numbers,” the moderator declared. “The number has to go in there. Are you not answering the question or do you want not to commit to it?”
The right-wing lawmaker continued to demur, insisting that she wants to “make certain” that “we pass policies that will create the environment for the American people to get back to work.”
Smith ended the interview by trying one last time to get Blackburn to answer the simple question about whether she supports Trump’s proposal.
“The president put a number out there. Are you willing to?” Smith asked.
“What I’m willing to do is targeted relief,” Blackburn responded, deploying her standard talking point. “That’s where I have been from day one. Help those that need the help.”