As unemployment benefits expired for millions of Americans on Saturday, donald trumpwho spent Christmas golfing in Florida, continued to block a $900 billion pandemic relief bill that would extend them.

The package, which Congress passed with bipartisan support on Monday after months of negotiations, would keep unemployment benefits in place through March and increase state benefits by $300 a week — as well as extending unemployment benefits. a moratorium on evictions, federal small business loans and $600 direct. payments to many Americans.

But without Trump’s signature, the entire package – expected to be the second largest in US history – is stalled and the US government now faces a shutdown on Tuesday.

“I just want our great people to get $2,000, rather than the measly $600 that’s now on the bill. Also stop the billion dollar ‘pork’,” he tweeted on Saturday morning.

It comes after he indicated on Tuesday that he could veto the bill, calling it a “shame”.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said Trump’s motivation for increasing payouts to $2,000 was “so he looks good.”

“And maybe he sees this as the crowning achievement as he leaves office, where he defeats Congress and his own party,” he added. “He’s probably more resentful of members of his own party than he is of Democrats…He’s a hurt creature and he’s going to hurt every other creature.”

Backed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, he said Republicans could still be swayed to vote for a bill that includes $2,000 payouts, in which case Trump “will score a big win.”

He added: “I think he now believes his own lies about the election. He was robbed because he said it so many times.

But with the eviction moratorium due to expire on December 31, he said any deal will have to be done this week.

“Hundreds of thousands of people who could lose the roof over their heads if they don’t get this eviction ban. There are so many parts that are damaging. But of course Trump will blame all of Congress and his supporters will then attack Congress, not realizing that it all comes down to Donald Trump.

The 5,000-page bill would have been Fly at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach club, on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Day, he was photographed playing golf – his 309th visit to one of his golf courses during his presidency – although he has sworn to be “work tirelessly” during the holiday season. On Saturday morning, the bill remained unsigned.

As the country continued to recover from the outbreak of the pandemic and amid a blast in Nashville, he also took the time to enter into a debate about the first lady’s legacy, responding to a Christmas Day tweet from Breitbart News accusing “elitist fashion press snobs” of failing to present Melania Trump on their covers for four years.

“The greatest of all time. Fake news!” he tweeted.

About 24 hours after the bill was passed by Congress, Trump released a surprise video in which he criticized the bill and called for raising direct payments to $2,000 per adult – although his own party objected. opposed it – and denounced the spending on foreign aid and artistic venues.

“Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida,” he tweeted on Friday. “Why wouldn’t politicians want to give people $2,000, rather than just $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give the money to our people!

After his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden in November, an election he still hasn’t conceded, Trump seems even more willing to oppose his own party and its leadership.

After Republican Senator Mitch McConnell acknowledged Biden’s victory after the Electoral College vote, Trump emailed Republicans to hit to the Senate Majority Leader.

A chart attached to the email reportedly showed a timeline of McConnell’s poll numbers and said, “Unfortunately Mitch forgot. He was the first to get off the ship!

On Christmas Day, Trump was joined on the golf course by Graham who, having previously supported the relief program, later appeared to change his mind.

“After spending time with President @realDonaldTrump today, I’m confident he’s more committed than ever to increasing stimulus payments to $2,000 per person and challenging big tech liability protection from section 230,” he tweeted.

“Both are reasonable demands, and I hope Congress listens. The biggest winner would be the American people.

But with insufficient support for payments of $2,000 – an attempt was blocked by Republicans on Thursday — a solution to the relief bill is unclear.

Previously, Trump had released his annual address to overseas service members and attended evening mass on Christmas Eve at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, near Mar-a-Lago, but this year, he stuck to his club or golf course, refraining from inviting the press to his speech and did not comment on the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville despite being made aware of it.