KEY POINTS

  • The Trump administration will suspend foreclosures and evictions to support families coping with income losses due to COVID-19
  • This move will provide homeowners with "some peace of mind during these trying times"
  • "Politics aside, this is incredible and the right response in this critical time," tweeted Omar

President Donald Trump's surprise decision to embrace agenda near-and-dear to the hearts of hardcore Democrats drew recognition from two of the four members of "The Squad": Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-MA.

On Wednesday, Trump said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will suspend foreclosures and evictions to assist families grappling with income losses stemming from layoffs wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the country. Suspending foreclosures will provide "immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions" through the end of April, said the government.

The suspension, however, applies only to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a HUD agency that offers affordable loans to homeowners through private firms. HUD Secretary Ben Carson said the move will provide homeowners with "some peace of mind during these trying times," USA Today reported.

The Trump administration is also negotiating a $1 trillion deal with Congress to provide cash relief for Americans and possible bailouts for major industries affected by the pandemic. The Senate, also on Wednesday, approved the House's multibillion-dollar emergency aid package providing paid sick and family leave for many Americans, bolstering unemployment insurance and providing free coronavirus testing.

While all this was taking place, Trump invoked a 1950 law known as the Defense Production Act to speed the production of facemasks, ventilators and other equipment vital to helping doctors treat coronavirus patients. The administration's moves to provide a lifeline to American families hard hit by the job losses triggered by COVID-19 drew rare praise from Omar, a staunch and very strident Trump critic.

"Politics aside, this is incredible and the right response in this critical time," tweeted Omar. "Finally, we should never let politics get in the way of good policy. This is a great start and hope others will be part of a united front to push for good policies that will help us work through the economic anxiety the country is feeling right now."

She later said supported a statement made by Pressley, who said unprecedented times require unprecedented leadership "and we are seeing that in our country right now. I have faith that we will survive this as a nation and build together."

Omar's nod in Trump's direction was said to have been triggered by a post from The Intercept's Lee Fang, who wrote: "Trump suspending mortgage foreclosures, demanding cash payments to Americans, now invoking the Defense Production Act to force private firms to produce needed supplies is incredible. Kind of a shell shock for anyone who reported on any economic policies in the Obama years."

A similar sentiment was broached by CNN political correspondent Dana Bash, who approved of Trump's moves on Wednesday.

"If you look at the big picture, this was remarkable from the president of the United States," she said. "This is a non-partisan -- this is an important thing to note and to applaud, from an American standpoint, from a human standpoint. He is being the kind of leader that people need, at least in tone, today and yesterday."

Ilhan Omar Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota speaks during a press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to defund border detention facilities, outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, February 7, 2019. The congresswoman has been under fire for recent tweets that many condemned as anti-Israel, and some as even anti-semitic. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images