Paper checks of coronavirus relief payments approved by Congress to be sent to Americans will have President Donald Trump’s name printed on them, a U.S. Treasury Department official has confirmed to NBC News.
It won’t be a signature, but the phrase “President Donald J. Trump” will be printed onto the front of the check, the Treasury official confirmed.
Congress last month passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes direct cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals, with an additional amount for children, as well as other measures, and Trump signed it into law.
The majority of coronavirus relief payments are expected to go out by direct deposit, but some will get paper checks. The Treasury Department expects those paper checks to start going out next week.
The Washington Post, who first reported the story, said the process of adding Trump’s name to the checks was expected to slow their delivery by several days.
The Treasury Department official disputed that and said there would not be any delays.
“Economic Impact Payment checks are scheduled to go out on time and exactly as planned — there is absolutely no delay whatsoever,” a Treasury Department spokesperson said in a statement. “In fact, we expect the first checks to be in the mail early next week which is well in advance of when the first checks went out in 2008 and well in advance of initial estimates.”
The move to add his name to the checks sparked criticism that Trump, who is aiming to be reelected in November, is attempting to have voters believe he is giving them the coronavirus relief payments. It is Congress that passed the package that authorizes the payments.
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tweeted: “You are getting your money late because the President thinks it is more important that his name be on the check than that you are able to pay your bills on time.”
Former director of the independent Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub Jr., who resigned in July 2017 months before his term was to expire, tweeted that Trump was using the relief checks to promote himself.
“Where you see the dying and suffering of your fellow Americans, Donald Trump sees another opportunity to promote himself — and, by extension, his reelection campaign. Corruption, you see, has its visionaries,” Shaub wrote.
The coronavirus epidemic has shut down large parts of the American economy and around 16 million people have filed for unemployment in the past few weeks.
As of Tuesday night, there have been more than 606,500 cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19 in the United States, with more than 29,500 deaths, according to NBC News’ tally.