President Biden on Tuesday visited a Washington, D.C., hardware story that recently received a small business coronavirus relief loan, drawing backlash from the former communications director for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.
The White House posted an image on Biden walking around the neighborhood store that had obtained a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan within the last two weeks.
“That’s strange, because during his campaign, Biden endlessly trashed PPP, saying it wasn’t helping small businesses,” Tim Murtaugh said on Twitter Tuesday. “The place he visited today got its PPP loan in APRIL OF LAST YEAR, saving 17 jobs.”
The Biden administration said the W.S. Jenks & Son hardware store was able to obtain another PPP loan after the president temporarily restricted the small business loan application process, allowing only businesses with fewer than 20 employees to apply for the loan from Feb. 24 thru March 9.
Murtaugh suggested that Biden was acting hypocritically and “riding on things that were already being done on COVID.”
Though Murtaugh alleged the president was changing his tune on his critical nature of PPP loans distributed during the previous administration, Biden reinforced his opinion Tuesday, blaming Trump for not sending enough aid to small businesses.
“Four hundred thousand small businesses went out of business,” Biden said during his tour of the hardware store. “They got in line, but they couldn’t get the help.” “And we found out that an awful lot of that went to big — bigger businesses that, in fact, weren’t supposed to qualify for this,” he added.
Biden said the reason the Trump administration failed to properly direct funds to small businesses was attributable to the removal of the inspector general early on in the pandemic.
Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general for the Defense Department and slotted to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, was removed by Trump in April 2020, less than two weeks after the initial $2 trillion COVID relief package was passed.
Deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, Bharat Ramamurti, said that since the changes were made allowing smaller businesses to be prioritized, there has been a 25 percent increase in loans distributed to first-time recipients and a 20% increase for minority-owned businesses.