Americans receiving stimulus checks amid the coronavirus pandemic will also get a letter signed by President Donald Trump explaining the reason for the payment.
The federal government has included a one-page letter in an envelope with all stimulus payment checks sent to recipients. A copy of the letter, seen by Newsweek, shows Trump's signature at the bottom of the page.
"We are fully committed to ensuring that you and your family have the support you need to get through this time," the letter reads. It also states the amount the person is receiving and instructions for how to claim the funds. The page is double sided with a Spanish version on the backside.
"Our great country is experiencing an unprecedented public health and economic challenge as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic," Trump wrote. "Our top priority is your health and safety. As we wage total war on this invisible enemy, we are also working around the clock to protect hardworking Americans like you from the consequences of the economy shutdown."
The president acknowledged the letter during Friday's White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, and said the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) mandates that his government "send out a notice of what benefits Americans are receiving." He added, "to fulfill the requirement, the Treasury Department is mailing a letter to me."
In the letter, Trump thanks Congress for collaborating with his administration to pass the CARES act, which he "proudly signed into law."
More than 88 million people have received the letter and check over the past week, according to the Treasury Department on Friday. It is currently unclear how many are still waiting. But on April 17, the department indicated 62 million had yet to receive their payments, according to CNN.
The Treasury Department reportedly ordered the Internal Revenue Service to print Trump's name on the stimulus checks earlier this month. At the time, senior agency officials told the Washington Post that the order could result in the checks being delayed by several days or longer. The decision to include Trump's name was unprecedented as usually the president's name does not appear on such checks to keep payments non-partisan.
Trump administration officials who spoke anonymously because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the matter told the publication that Trump had asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin if he could sign the checks, but was denied authority to do so.
Chris Hooper, the national president of the IRS's Professional Managers Association (PMA), accused the administration of abusing federal resources by placing Trump's name on the paper stimulus check. "In this time of need for additional resources, anything that takes our focus from getting those checks out the door and hampers the equitable, fair administration of the tax code is not something we can support," Hooper told the Post, calling it "an abuse of government resources."
Newsweek reached out to the IRS for comment.