On Thursday, President Joe Biden had some ice cream courtesy of former President Donald Trump.
No, the 45th president didn’t treat the 46th to a round at Dairy Queen, although that has all the makings of a bad “Saturday Night Live” sketch. Instead, Biden visited an ice cream chain that could very well be out of business were it not for the Trump administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
According to WJW-TV, after a speech on the economy at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, he made his way to Honey Hut, part of a small local chain of ice-cream shops in the northeast Ohio area.
“Biden got a cone, took a few photos and talked to a small group of supporters,” WJW reported.
“He also bought 50 units of ice cream for staff members before heading to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.”
And it wouldn’t be the ice-cream shop stopover without the fawning blue-checkmark photos of the president with his cone:
Stopping for ice cream at Honey Hut Ice Cream pic.twitter.com/QUoNhd1bdE
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) May 27, 2021
Pres. Joe Biden stopped for ice cream at Honey Hut Ice Cream in the Cleveland area, after his event there today. pic.twitter.com/1oEHQArbF3
— Gary Grumbach (@GaryGrumbach) May 27, 2021
Joe Biden…Cleveland… @Honey_Hut …Ice Cream … selfie… pic.twitter.com/8e5hRR29tc
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) May 27, 2021
The New York Post reported Biden told reporters he ordered chocolate-chocolate chip for himself. Further bulletins as events warrant.
According to its website, “Honey Hut Ice Cream opened its first location in Old Brooklyn area of Cleveland way back in 1974. Frank Page and his family — wife Marianne and kids Marcia, Brian, Bruce, Mark, and Sharon — decided to remodel an old shoe repair store at the end of their street. That building became the honey-sweetened ice cream shoppe that is now Honey Hut Ice Cream.”
Frank was an active-duty firefighter who built his business and then put it in the hands of his children and grandchildren, who have expanded to five outlets. And yet, it all could have come to a crashing halt in 2020 were it not for one thing:
The business Biden is visiting got a PPP loan under Trump.
Thank you Trump and Republicans in Congress! pic.twitter.com/6iKZK5RZk2
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 27, 2021
According to data from ProPublica, Honey Hut received $64,797 in PPP funds in a loan approved on May 2, 2020. Those PPP loans, part of the COVID relief passed by Congress and signed into law by Trump, allowed businesses to borrow money backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration if they used it to keep workers on payroll.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened — and it hasn’t been the most embarrassing, either.
In July of last year, the Biden campaign released an advertisement featuring a small business owner in Philadelphia describing the hardships she’d endured under COVID.
“Donald Trump and his administration left the American people behind,” said Tiffany Easley, the owner of NV My Eyewear.
Small businesses are the backbone of communities across our nation, and we need to do so much more to help them. Donald Trump may have forgotten about them — but I never will. pic.twitter.com/RDYKzt1Qc1
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 1, 2020
There was a slight issue with this:
NV My Eyewear is one of the businesses that got a payout from the first phase of the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Easley was awarded a loan of $27,000, which will be forgiven if she uses it to rehire staff, as she’s planning to do. #FakeNews
— TimPDavidson (@TimpDavidson) July 2, 2020
As it turned out, Easley had given an interview with a local news outlet in which she implied a $27,000 PPP loan had allowed her to stay open.
And then there was a participant at a small-business roundtable with Vice President Kamala Harris in March who also pointed out the impact the program had on his nonprofit. Jack Briggs, who runs the Christian charity Springs Rescue Mission, told the vice president that “the [Paycheck Protection Program] was incredibly important to us.”
“You talk about volunteers. We’re a volunteer organization for a lot of our people. When COVID hit, we couldn’t have the volunteers anymore. But PPP allowed us to hire people during the COVID crisis to be front-line workers for us because, obviously, we can’t do what we do remotely. So it was incredibly critical for us to leverage that.”
Participant credits Trump’s PPP during roundtable with Kamala Harrishttps://t.co/uRgFC2Exzi pic.twitter.com/KuK3WtjeY2
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 16, 2021
It’s like everywhere you go, you see the fruits of the PPP loans. Maybe that would have made a better question from the media than what flavor ice cream Biden was eating.