Trump defends money for Kennedy Center in stimulus deal

As he urged the Congress to swiftly give final approval to an extraordinary $2 trillion economic rescue package to help offset the impact of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he had personally approved of a provision giving $25 million in money to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to offset the losses incurred by its closure.

Asked by a reporter if the money should have been going to masks, respirators, and other medical equipment instead, the President said it was all part of the give and take for a final deal.

"I approved that," Mr. Trump said without missing a beat, saying he's a fan of the arts. "The Kennedy Center has suffered greatly, because nobody can go there - it's essentially closed."

The President said Democrats had originally asked for $35 million, but that he chopped that down to $25 million.

The provision had garnered the ire of some Republicans in the Congress, who felt it was nothing more than Democrats trying to stuff funding for pet projects into the economic rescue package.

"Dems are again exploiting a crisis to fund their liberal wishlist," said Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who criticized money for the Kennedy Center, museums, public broadcasting, and libraries.

At the White House, the President said there was nothing going on other than simple negotiations.

"But, you got to give them something, it was something that they wanted," Mr. Trump told reporters, giving some insight into the negotiations in recent days.

"You know it works that way. Democrats have treated us fairly," the President added.