Trump says he might give federal coronavirus aid to states if they comply with his political demands

President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday that federal aid to states battling the novel coronavirus may depend on those states eliminating sanctuary cities, payroll taxes, and capital gains taxes.

“Well run States should not be bailing out poorly run States, using CoronaVirus as the excuse!” the president tweeted. “The elimination of Sanctuary Cities, Payroll Taxes, and perhaps Capital Gains Taxes, must be put on the table. Also lawsuit indemnification & business deductions for restaurants & ent.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has implied he may link government aid to states complying with his hardline immigration demands.

“I don’t think you should have sanctuary cities if they get that kind of aid. If you’re going to get aid to the cities and states for the kind of numbers you’re talking about, billions of dollars, I don’t think you should have sanctuary cities,” he said last Wednesday.

Four days later, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, also hinted that Trump had not yet ruled out tying federal aid to sanctuary cities.

“Regarding the states,” Kudlow said on CNN’s State of the Union, “as you know, the president has from time to time spoken about linking that to sanctuary cities. I don’t think anything’s been decided yet.

And in an interview with The New York Post published Tuesday morning, Trump said it’s “not fair to the Republicans because all the states that need help — they’re run by Democrats in every case. Florida is doing phenomenal, Texas is doing phenomenal, the Midwest is, you know, fantastic — very little debt.”

It’s not clear whether the Trump administration can legally condition federal aid on states complying with his immigration-related demands, and he’ll almost certainly face pushback in the courts if he seeks to impose such an order.

Trump has also been sharply criticized for tying economic aid to states to his campaign platform during a time of national crisis.

Last week, Trump questioned why American taxpayers should “be bailing out poorly run states,” citing Illinois as “an example” and adding that “in all cases,” the states he mentioned are “Democrat run and managed.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hit back at the president and other Republican lawmakers who echoed his claims, saying last week that New York has been bailing out other states for years and contributes far more to the federal government than it rakes in.

The Democratic governor said he found it “repugnant” to discuss “dollars to cents” contributed by states but added that New York routinely sends more money than it receives.

“It’s not the time to be saying ‘Well you put in a dollar more than I did, or I put in $5 more than you did,'” Cuomo said during a daily briefing last week. “But if you want to go to who’s getting bailed out and who paid what, nobody would be bailing out New York state.”

“New York state has been bailing them out every year for decades. If you want to do an analysis of who is a giver and who is a taker, we are the number one giver,” he added.

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