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Capitol Report: Trump backs plan for additional $25 billion to support airlines

Capitol Report

President praises Arizona’s pandemic response, again pushes for payroll-tax relief at White House briefing

President Donald Trump answers question during a press conference at the White House on Wednesday.

AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would support additional aid for airlines to keep workers on payroll. The president was asked about a plan from more than a dozen Republican senators to provide another $25 billion in support for airlines.

“I think it’s very important that we keep the airlines going,” he said. “We don’t want to lose our airlines.”

Trump cut off Wednesday’s coronavirus task force briefing after about 30 minutes, as several reporters peppered him with questions about Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut.

Trump spent much of the briefing touting Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic by allowing more businesses to remain open than some Northeast states. He argued more strict lockdowns have tradeoffs that are harder to gauge.

“This is an approach that’s been incredibly successful,” Trump said.

Arizona has the second-most coronavirus cases per capita in the U.S., according to CDC data.

Trump said his administration is negotiating with Democratic leaders in the House to extend relief payments. He added that he’s exploring executive actions to provide protection against evictions.

“It wasn’t their fault that this virus came from a faraway land,” he said.

Trump also said he’s looking into a temporary suspension of the payroll tax, which, according to Trump, “has great support from many many sides.” The payroll-tax cut was withdrawn last month from the latest coronavirus-aid proposal after stiff opposition from both Senate Democrats and Republicans.

Trump once again expressed opposition to aid for Northeast states most impacted by the virus, characterizing such actions as a “bailout of the poorly run states.”

Trump was asked once again to back up his opposition to mail-in voting and whether or not he pushed for Republicans to help Kanye West make it on the presidential ballot in Wisconsin and Ohio. He said he did not, but praised the rapper.

When asked whether he plans to deliver his convention speech from the White House, Trump called it a “very convenient idea.”

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