People are slamming Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for appearing to suggest the $1,200 coronavirus stimulus payments could last people 10 weeks

President Donald Trump listens as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Monday, April 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Associated Press

President Donald Trump listens as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Monday, April 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appeared to suggest that coronavirus stimulus payments could last people 10 weeks. 
  • A misleading tweet of his comments went viral, and lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were quick to pile on. 
  • Mnuchin, a former investment banker with a net worth of $400 million, has long been accused of being out-of-touch. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump's appointed head of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, is under fire for comments he made Wednesday in which he appeared to suggest the $1,200 stimulus payments could last people up to 10 weeks.

"I think the entire package provides economic relief overall for about 10 weeks," Mnuchin told CBS' Face the Nation. "Hopefully we will kill this virus quicker and we won't need it, but we have liquidity to put into the American economy to support American workers and American business."Advertisement

His comments likely referred to the entire $2 trillion relief package passed by Congress in March, which also provided more flexible requirements for unemployment benefits, bailouts and loans to large corporations, as well as loans to small businesses to continue paying their workers. That small business program ran out of funding Thursday as lawmakers debate if further stimulus is required.

Still, the fury came quick from those who heard the former Goldman Sachs executive's comments as implying the direct payments could last for more than two months, equating to about $17 per day.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, chimed in Thursday morning with an "Arrested Development" reference.
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"It's your monthly rent, Michael. What could is cost? $10?" she said, channeling Lucille Bluth, the TV show's wealthy-yet-out-of-touch matriarch who, in one famous instance, massively overestimates the cost of one banana.

Others criticized the amount as too small, pointing to the higher amounts and frequencies of payments by other developed nations.Mnuchin, who has an estimated net worth of $400 million, is no stranger to accusations of being out-of-touch with the reality of American workers. Military documents reported on by Politico in 2018 showed the secretary racked up some $1 million worth of flight hours for trips that usually would have seen someone in his position flying commercial. And in 2017, a photo of Mnuchin and celebrity wife Louise Linton showing off freshly printed $1 bills went viral.Advertisement

 

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