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Did Steve Mnuchin Say Americans Can Live on $1,200 for 10 Weeks?
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Did Steve Mnuchin Say Americans Can Live on $1,200 for 10 Weeks?

No, he did not.

On Twitter Wednesday, Brianna Westbrook, the vice-chair of the Arizona Democratic Party and former national surrogate for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, shared a video clip of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin discussing the economic relief provided by the CARES Act on CBS’ March 29 episode of Face the Nation

The tweet received additional attention after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, and CNN commentator Keith Boykin picked it up:

Those four tweets collected more than 350,000 likes and 72,000 retweets. In the clip, Mnuchin is heard to say, “these checks in the mail or direct deposit. It’s really bridge liquidity for people as they go through these difficult times.” After being asked how long the bridge liquidity is expected to last, Mnuchin responded: “I think the entire package provides economic relief overall for about 10 weeks.”

In their tweets, Westbrook and the others are referring to the checks of up to $1,200 (plus $500 for every dependent under the age of 18) going out to Americans making under $99,000 annually. However, the video is edited to leave out Mnuchin’s comments immediately before those included in the clip. Directly before the comments in the clip in which he referred to the “entire package,” Mnuchin said the law included  “three components”: small business loans, enhanced unemployment benefits, and the checks. But the edited clip in the tweet only included the last one—the checks.

Mnuchin added later in the interview: “if for whatever reason, this takes longer than we think, we will go back to Congress and get more support for the American economy.”

Taken in their entirety, it is clear the secretary’s comments were intended to include the small business loans that the administration hopes will allow businesses to keep employees on payroll and the enhanced unemployment benefits that will provide $600 per week more than usual. Based on that, it is inaccurate to say Secretary Mnuchin believes that Americans can live on $1,200 for a 10-week period.

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Photograph of Steve Mnuchin by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images.

Alec Dent is a former culture editor and staff writer for The Dispatch.