Despite losing the presidential elections, things are not going very well for US President Donald Trump, soon to be ex-President of the United States after just one single term.
Losing the majority of the votes to his presidential rival, Joe Biden, in a popular vote last month, Trump, however, has still not conceded defeat. Trump so far has refused to accept the election results, waging a legal strategy to contest them in courts and issuing false allegations of fraud. The matter of fact that the President once again lost a small share of votes to Biden after the recounting completed in Wisconsin and Dane last week, cannot be ignored either.
As of now, the Republican allies of Trump, in a long-shot request, said they have asked the US Supreme Court for an emergency order that would nullify Pennsylvania's certification of Biden's election victory in the state. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had rejected the lawsuit on Saturday, complaining that the Republicans had waited too long to sue and were now advocating the "extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise all 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the general election" and throw the decision to the state legislature.
There are currently no plans to invite Biden to the Oval Office for the traditional meeting between the incoming and outgoing presidents, a historic sign of the peaceful transfer of power. Aides instead are working to craft ways for the President to feel validated even in loss, including through more rallies.
But despite Trump not accepting his reality, most of America recognizes him as the 'biggest loser' ever. This hashtag has flooded Twitter today, whereby people are expressing how ruthlessly the leader has failed so far during his first tenure in office.
Trump Organisation and Kushner Companies benefactors of PPP loans
Meanwhile, the recent data released by the Small Business Administration on who benefited from pandemic relief programs has raised further questions regarding the equitability and distribution of loans intended for small businesses, under Trump's administration.
The analysis found that properties owned by the Trump Organization as well as the Kushner Companies, owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, profited from the program.
After months of litigation, the SBA released the dataset Tuesday night on every small business that received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) loan.
Over 25 PPP loans worth more than $3.65 million were given to businesses with addresses at Trump and Kushner real estate properties, paying rent to those owners. Fifteen of the properties self-reported that they only kept one job, zero jobs or did not report a number at all.
The loans to Trump and Kushner properties included a $2,164,543 loan to the Triomphe Restaurant Corp., at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City. The company reported the money didn't go to keeping any jobs. It later closed.
A company called LB City Inc, which is at Kushner's Bungalow Hotel in Long Branch, New Jersey, received a loan for $505,552.50 that it used to keep 155 jobs.
Two tenants at 725 5th Avenue, Trump Tower, received more than $100,000 and kept only three jobs.
Four tenants at the Kushner-owned 666 5th Avenue combined received more than $204,000, and retained only six jobs.
There were also some troubling signs of mismanagement revealed in the data. Over 100 loans were made to companies where no business name was listed, were listed as "no name available" or showed potential data entry errors, such as names that appeared to be dates or phone numbers. More than 300 companies appear to have each gotten more than $10 million in loans through their subsidiaries. Businesses were not supposed to receive more than $10 million per entity, except for those in the food, hospitality or hotel industries.
The findings immediately raised concerns with government accountability groups.
"Many months and broken promises later, the court-ordered release of this crucial data while the Trump administration is one foot out the door is a shameful dereliction of duty and flagrant mismanagement of a program that millions of workers and small businesses needed to get through this pandemic," Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, an accountability watchdog, said in a statement.
Relaxation of PPP rules was a hoax
The PPP programs' original stated intent by officials was to help with payroll for small businesses struggling under the effects of coronavirus lockdown measures. The loans aimed to provide a bridge through the summer for what was hoped to be an improved economic and health climate in the fall.
But almost from the start, the programs, particularly PPP, drew criticism for how they were administered and messaged, and whether it was equitable.
Large national banks initially gave loans only to customers with whom they had pre-existing lending relationships. Businesses owned by people of color without strong banking relationships found themselves with limited access and forced them to find other routes for funding. There was also the persistent question of what defined a "small business," after lobbying by the hotel and restaurant industry ballooned the maximum number of employees allowable to 500, even though over 98 per cent of the small businesses in America have fewer than 100 employees.
Trump had himself relaxed the PPP rules in June, this year, aiming to provide covid relief to small companies. But now it seems as if the motive was a selfish one.