The Trump administration appears to be headed for a trade war on three fronts. As far as anyone can tell, it is simultaneously going to take on China, the European Union and our partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement. The economic fallout will be ugly.
But that’s probably not the whole story: There’s also likely to be ugly political fallout, not just abroad but here at home, too. In fact, I predict that as the downsides of hard-line trade policy become apparent, we’ll see a nasty search by President Trump and company for people to scapegoat. In fact, that search has already started.
.. So did the administration say, “Look, we’re taking a tough stand, and there will be some costs”? Why, no. Instead, Ross declared that the price changes were the work of “antisocial” speculators engaged in “profiteering,” and called for an investigation. See, we aren’t looking at the predictable effects of administration policy; we’re looking at an anti-Trump conspiracy.
.. How will the administration react to the blowback when the trade war really gets going? Will it admit that it misjudged the effects of its policies? Of course not.
What I predict, instead, is that it will start seeing villains under every bed. It will attribute the downsides of trade conflict not to its own actions, but to George Soros and the deep state. I’m not sure how they can work MS-13 into it, but they’ll surely try.
.. The point is that the politics of trade war will probably end up looking like Trump politics in general: a search for innocent people to demonize.
.. As part of our continuing effort to resist the exhausting and numbing effects of living under a relentlessly abusive and degrading president, we present, for the third time in nine months, an updated guide to what Republicans now consider to be acceptable behavior from the commander in chief. As before, these examples, drawn from incidents or disclosures in the last three-plus months, do not concern policy decisions — only the president’s words and actions.
Imply, without evidence, that a television anchor was involved in a murder.. Call the American justice system a “joke” and a “laughingstock”
Have your lawyer pay $130,000 in hush money to a porn star with whom you had an affair while your wife was at home caring for your new son
.. Continue to call for a criminal investigation of your former political opponent, whom you call the “worst (and biggest) loser of all time” a year after the election.. Tell your rich friends after your tax bill passes, “You all just got a lot richer”.. Defend your mental competency by saying that you are “like, really smart” and a “very stable genius”.. Threaten to take away a TV network’s broadcast license for reporting on your deliberations about the nation’s nuclear arsenal.. Threaten to use federal tax law to punish a professional sports league for letting its players express political opinions
Tell reporters that “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it”
Warn American citizens in Puerto Rico, only weeks after a catastrophic hurricane, that the federal government can’t help them out “forever,” even as you tell victims of a hurricane in Texas, “We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, and REBUILD!”.. Spend one-third of the first year of your taxpayer-funded presidency visiting your own golf courses or properties.. While debating policy with lawmakers on live television, accidentally agree to a deal that is the opposite of what your party wants, get corrected by the House majority leader, and then release an official White House transcript that omits the exchange
.. Claim that a new tax bill you support will “cost me a fortune,” even though it will probably save you millions, but who knows since you refuse to release your tax returns.. Try to stop the publication of a book that says critical things about you and your administration.. Accuse an F.B.I. agent of treason without evidence.. Watch four to eight hours of cable television a day, mostly the channel that feeds you self-serving propaganda.. Choose for federal judgeships nominees who cannot identify or explain basic legal concepts, and who were rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.. Falsely claim that you have signed more legislation than any first-year president, when in fact you have signed less than any post-World War II president.. Taunt a foreign leader who claims he has nuclear weapons by saying your “nuclear button” is “a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”.. Criticize a law that your party firmly supports, then, two hours later, reverse yourself.. Pick nominees to the federal bench who call a sitting Supreme Court justice a “judicial prostitute” and refer to transgender children as part of “Satan’s plan”.. Campaign hard for a Senate candidate; then when he appears likely to lose, say “I might have made a mistake” and later delete your tweets supporting him .. Behave so erratically and irresponsibly that senators of your own party resort to saying you’re treated like someone at “an adult day-care center” to keep you from starting World War III.. Spend one of every three days as president visiting at least one of your own properties.. Publicly and privately humiliate your own attorney general for recusing himself from an investigation into your campaign.. Say nothing when a foreign leader’s bodyguards brutally attack peaceful protesters in the streets of Washington, D.C... Encourage police officers not to be “too nice” when apprehending criminal suspects.. Help draft a misleading statement about the purpose of a meeting between your son, other top campaign aides and representatives of a rival foreign power intent on interfering in the election
Deliver a speech to the Boy Scouts of America that includes mockery of a former president and winking references to sexual orgies, and then lie by claiming that the head of that organization called and told you it was the best speech ever delivered in Boy Scout history
Hang a framed copy of a fake Time magazine cover celebrating your business acumen in your golf clubs around the world
Mock a female television anchor’s appearance, saying the anchor was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at a holiday gathering at your private resort
Force your cabinet members to take turns extolling your virtues in front of television cameras
Continue to deny that Russia attempted to influence the presidential election, despite the consensus of the American intelligence community — and yet also blame your predecessor for not doing anything to stop that interference
Grant temporary White House press credentials to a website that, among other things, claims that Sept. 11 was an “inside job” and that the massacre of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax.. Pardon a former sheriff who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for refusing to obey the law
Continue to repeat, with admiration, a false story about an American military general committing war crimes
Mock the mayor of a world city for his careful, sober response to a terrorist attack.. Admit to trying to intimidate a key witness in a federal investigation.. Profit off the presidency, accepting millions of dollars from foreign government officials, businesses, politicians and other supporters who pay a premium to patronize your properties and get access to you — while also attempting to hide the visitor lists at some of those properties from the public.. Promise to drain the swamp, then quietly grant ethics waivers to multiple former industry lobbyists who want to work in your administration
Accuse a former president, without evidence, of an impeachable offense.. Allow White House staff members to use their personal email for government business
Claim, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally
Fail to fire high-ranking members of your national security team for weeks, even after knowing they lied to your vice president and exposed themselves to blackmail
Refuse to release tax returns
Hide the White House visitors’ list from the public
Vacation at one of your private residences nearly every weekend
Use an unsecured personal cellphone
Criticize specific businesses for dropping your family members’ products.. Hire relatives for key White House posts, and let them meet with foreign officials and engage in business at the same time
Promote family businesses on federal government websites.. Compare the U.S. intelligence community to Nazis.. Share highly classified information with a hostile foreign power without the source’s permission
Mr. Kushner, who at age 36 occupies an ill-defined role somewhere between princeling and President Trump’s shadow chief of staff
.. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person
.. That relationship had already begun to fray a bit after Mr. Trump’s dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, which Mr. Kushner had strongly advocated, and because of his repeated attempts to oust Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as well as the president’s overburdened communications team, especially Sean Spicer, the press secretary.
.. It has been duly noted in the White House that Mr. Trump, who feels that he has been ill served by his staff, has increasingly included Mr. Kushner when he dresses down aides and officials
.. the most serious point of contention .. sister Nicole Meyer .. dangled the availability of EB-5 visas
.. In the following days during routine West Wing meetings, the president made several snarky, disparaging comments about Mr. Kushner’s family and the visas that were clearly intended to express his annoyance
.. Both men were reared in the freewheeling, ruthless world of real estate, and both possess an unshakable self-assurance that is both their greatest attribute and their direst vulnerability.
.. a deep confidence in his abilities that critics say borders on conceit
.. intensely proud of his accomplishments in the private
.. is given license to exercise power and take on a vague portfolio .. without suffering the consequences of failure
.. propensity for avoiding messy aspects of his job
.. he wants nothing to do with the legislative process
.. Mr. Bannon .. has taken to comparing the former real estate executive to “the air,” because he blows in and out of meetings leaving little trace
.. Mr. Kushner quickly forms fixed opinions about people, sometimes based on scant evidence.
.. Often, that entails soothing Mr. Trump.
.. Mr. Kushner has made it plain to them that they needed to choose sides or be iced out
.. Mr. Kushner remains infuriated by what he believes to be leaks about his team by Mr. Bannon
.. Mr. Trump admires Mr. Kushner’s tough streak, and shares his taste for payback
.. Mr. Kushner sees his role as a freelance troubleshooter
.. Mr. Kushner has quietly sought revenge on enemies