A Mississippi pastor has described the $1,400 stimulus checks in President Joe Biden‘s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill as former President Donald Trump‘s “blessing,” calling the checks an “offering from our late president.”
Pastor Shane Vaughn, previously the star of a viral video claiming that Trump would serve a second term despite losing to Biden, made the remarks in a video titled “Open Mic Night – Professor Toto answers your questions” that was posted to YouTube on Saturday, not long after the Senate passed the relief bill. Although Vaughn made it clear that he does not support the bill, which no Republicans voted in favor of, he insisted that Democrats were attempting to claim credit for what was Trump’s “idea.”
“This was Donald Trump’s idea, not theirs,” Vaughn told his followers. “Donald Trump said if we’re gonna blow this money anyway, then blow it on our people. And so, ladies and gentlemen, that bill that passed today where you’re getting all this money, that was an offering from our late president to every one of you.”
“Remember, you got $600 earlier,” he added. “Well now you’re getting the rest of what he fought for, $1,400 more equals $2,000 a person. So even as Donald Trump has left office, his blessing to America has continued.”
While Trump did threaten to veto the $600 stimulus checks that were passed in December and insisted on $2,000 checks instead, Democrats had also previously called for the $2,000 checks and the former president ultimately signed the legislation for the lower amount. Trump was not involved in the current relief package, which was announced by Biden on his first day in office.
Vaughn explained that he is opposed to the stimulus checks being issued because he believes that his own grandchildren will either have to “figure out how to pay it” or “sign our nation over to China.” Regardless, he insisted that he was “sort of with Donald Trump on this.”
“I’m glad for those that are getting their stimulus money and I hope it’s a blessing to you,” said Vaughn. “But I’m still a conservative and I still believe that this nation should not be in the business of taking care of all of her citizens.”
After Vaughn’s video claiming that Trump would remain in office went viral in November, news emerged that the pastor had previously served three years in prison following 2009 charges related to bank fraud, insurance fraud and identity theft. A short time later, Vaughn told Religion News Service that he regretted the video going viral and that his criminal past “haunts” him “like a black dog.”
In addition to the stimulus checks, Biden’s American Rescue Plan includes provisions like expanded unemployment benefits, tax credits, relief for small businesses and funding aimed at ending the pandemic. A vote on the package is expected in the House on Tuesday, where it is likely to pass due to a Democratic majority, before being sent to Biden’s desk for a final signature.
Newsweek reached out to the White House and the Democratic National Committee for comment.
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