Mick Mulvaney Says Donald Trump Was Sending a Message by Refusing to Sign Stimulus Bill

Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney suggested President Donald Trump's delay in signing the latest COVID-19 relief and government funding legislation was to "send the message" he was not happy with it and that "Congress is broken."

The president belatedly signed the bill Sunday. He delayed signing after the roughly $900 billion in relief passed Congress earlier in the week largely because he wanted the stimulus checks to be $2,000 instead of $600.

"I think what he was trying to do was simply trying to send the message that he wasn't happy with the bill," Mulvaney said on CNBC's Squawk Box.

He said this was not unusual due to the size of the overall package he was signing off, and that it might not have been solely due to the relief aspect—highlighting the $1.4 trillion omnibus spending package with which it was combined.

"I think the president was sending the message that Congress is broken—and it is," Mulvaney, who now serves as special envoy for Northern Ireland, added.

"I think a lot of us were relieved he did sign the bill, because I don't think there was a plan if he didn't, but I don't think he's happy about it."

Trump had cast doubt on whether he would sign the bill earlier in the week, describing it as a disgrace after it was passed by Congress even though his own White House had helped to negotiate the bipartisan deal.

On Sunday, Trump said in a statement he would sign the legislation though he also demanded certain bits be removed from the bill, and will formally make such a request of Congress. Trump also mentioned a vote on stimulus checks going up to $2,000.

"As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child," he said.

Legislation to see the stimulus check payments being boosted from a maximum amount of $600 to $2,000 is due to be brought to the House floor on Monday, where it is expected to pass.

However, its fate in the GOP-controlled Senate is uncertain, where many Republican lawmakers are opposed to larger checks despite the president's wishes.

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

donald trump walks with mick mulvaney
U.S. President Donald Trump walks along the West Wing Colonnade with acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney (R) before departing from the White House on January 13, 2020. Mulvaney has suggested the president's delay in signing the COVID-19 relief and omnibus funding was to send a message. Mark Wilson/Getty Images