The Internal Revenue Service is due to send stimulus cheques to millions of households across the United States to relieve the financial burden that some are facing during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, those expecting the cheques will have to wait a little bit longer as in an unprecedented move, the US Treasury Department has ordered the IRS to print every cheque with Donald Trump's signature on it.
Around 70 million Americans were expecting the cheques worth $1,200 in the next few days but they will now have to wait longer while the president's name is printed onto the paper, something which has never happened before.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that 'president Donald J. Trump' will appear on the left-hand side of the payment but Treasury officials have disputed that delivery of the checks would be delayed.
According to the Post Trump had suggested to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the president signs the cheques despite this being a civil servant job and not that of the POTUS. (This ensures that any legal disbursements from the treasury are nonpartisan.)
Therefore, Trump's name will appear in the memo line, below a line that reads, “Economic Impact Payment," as told to the Post by an administration official. Around 5 million cheques are set to be delivered a week in the US, with the whole process predicted to take around 20 weeks to complete, but the addition of the signature could now add extra days to this operation.
Trump had previously denied that he wanted to sign the cheques. According to CNN, on 3 April he said:
No. Me sign? No. There's millions of checks. I'm going to sign them? No. It's a Trump administration initiative. But do I want to sign them? No.
Regardless of how long this is going to take or if Trump wanted to do it or not, there is no doubt that this is a political move from the president and people are pretty aghast that he would deploy such a tactic in such uncertain and worrying times, when millions could be depending on these cheques to stay afloat.
The cheques are part of the US government's $2 trillion stimulus package to offer financial relief to those most affected by the coronavirus. The US has more than 570,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the most in the world, which at the time of writing, has resulted in more than 22,000 deaths.