Jessica Tarlov is a #Fox News contributor. She just clashed on-air with Harris Faulkner after she called out #Trump’s “didn’t want to cause a panic” lie.
Besides delaying the election, what else could alter his political trajectory?
Bret Stephens: Gail, some of our readers may not know that, in addition to all of your journalism at The Times, you’re also the author of several distinguished works of history. Put on your historian’s hat and tell us what you think of Donald Trump’s tweet suggesting we delay the election.
Gail Collins: Bret, I probably know more about the presidency of William Henry Harrison. But I’m pretty sure our readers aren’t having trouble figuring out how to react to a president, trailing in the polls, suddenly suggesting we put off voting.
Bret: I was impressed and pleasantly surprised by the Op-Ed we ran from Steven Calabresi, a law professor and one of the founders of the conservative Federalist Society, who called Trump’s tweet “fascistic” and “itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”
Gail: You told me once you thought Trump was too cowardly to actually try to pull off a coup. I can’t tell you how much comfort I’ve been taking from that thought.
So — just checking — is that still your opinion?
Bret: Still is. What I think this tweet tells us is that Trump knows in his heart that he is likely to lose in November. He’s laying the groundwork not for a coup but for an excuse, both for himself and for his followers. It creates a mythology to explain defeat, attack Joe Biden and keep the Trump family relevant in the Republican Party. The fact that he’d pull a stunt like this is another reason it’s so important that he lose in a landslide in November.
Gail: Get your act together, Georgia. And I’m looking at you, Arizona.
Bret: In the meantime, Gail — and on a less depressing note — I was deeply moved by the funeral service and eulogies for John Lewis. I’m sorry I never had a chance to meet him. Did you know him?
Gail: No, but my impression was like that of a lot of people I’ve met from the civil rights movement. They were ferocious about the fight but very humane about the people they were fighting against. Which is hard to do when you’re talking about folks swinging bats or refusing to let your children order ice cream at the segregated soda fountain.
Noticed there was only one president missing from the funeral …
Bret: … as he was missing from the funeral of John McCain. Grace is to Trump what garlic is to vampires.
Gail: Wow, I’d like to see that on his tombstone someday.
Bret: Speaking of grace, it’s worth watching George W. Bush’s eulogy for Lewis, which got the standing ovation it deserved. Not just because of its eloquence, but because it was such a vivid demonstration that policy differences should be no bar to admiring the character of our political opponents. One of the many reasons Lewis deserved those magnificent tributes is because he operated from convictions of radical love. He saw humanity even in those who refused to see humanity in him.
Gail: Totally agree. And seeing all the ex-presidents there, as at the McCain funeral, reminded you of a time when our national leaders, for all their faults, knew how to behave like civilized people.
Bret: All things we could stand to learn again, and maybe will in a Biden administration. Speaking of which, any thoughts about Karen Bass as a veep nominee? Lots of buzz around her.
Gail: Nothing buzzier. Her stock keeps rising because her House colleagues think so highly of her. She knows how to get things done and her colleagues like working with her. The Democratic ticket would certainly win the Likability Ribbon.
Bret: My main criterion for a running mate, other than being qualified to be president, is to bring political strength to a ticket, and possibly flip a state. If I have any objection to Bass, it’s that, as a Californian, she doesn’t do this for a Biden ticket. And she might hurt him in Florida, on account of her participation, back in the 1970s, in the pro-Castro “Venceremos Brigade.” So many key elections in the Sunshine State seem to split 50-50, with one side winning by a hair, so there’s not a lot of room for error.
Gail: Good point, but I am sorta getting tired of the Just-Make-Florida-Happy theory of politics.
Bret: I know the polls look good for Biden now, but he can’t be complacent. He has to run his campaign as if the whole thing is going to turn on just a few thousand votes in a few key states — and none more key than Florida. Trump is going to attack Biden and whoever emerges as his running mate in the nastiest way possible, while we are in the midst of the worst economic crisis in living history. If ever there was a political race that matters, it’s this one.
Gail: Well, a huge number of Americans agree with you, not to mention most of the rest of the world. Maybe we all get together some night — on Zoom, of course. We could close our eyes and envision the Donald Trump Concession Sulk. Then we will clear our minds and go back to worrying obsessively.
Bret: The moment we read the tweet, “Just ‘congratulated’ ‘president-elect’ Joe Biden (total loser). You’ll miss me VERY SOON!!!” is the moment our long national nightmare will finally be over.
And he has only himself to blame.When he isn’t raving about how the deep state is conspiring against him, Donald Trump loves to boast about the economy, claiming to have achieved unprecedented things. As it happens, none of his claims are true. While both G.D.P. and employment have registered solid growth, the Trump economy simply seems to have continued a long expansion that began under Barack Obama. In fact, someone who looked only at the past 10 years of data would never guess that an election had taken place.
But now it’s starting to look as if Trump really will achieve something unique: He may well be the first president of modern times to preside over a slump that can be directly attributed to his own policies, rather than bad luck.
There has always been a deep unfairness about the relationship between economics and politics: Presidents get both credit and blame for events that usually have little to do with their actions.
- Jimmy Carter didn’t cause the stagflation that put Ronald Reagan in the White House;
- George H.W. Bush didn’t cause the economic weakness that elected Bill Clinton; even
- George W. Bush bears at most tangential responsibility for the 2008 financial crisis.
More recently, the “mini-recession” of 2015-16, a slump in manufacturing that may have tipped the scale to Trump, was caused mainly by a plunge in energy prices rather than any of Barack Obama’s policies.
But unlike previous presidents, who were just unlucky to preside over slumps, Trump has done this to himself, largely by choosing to wage a trade war he insisted would be “good, and easy to win.”
The link between the trade war and agriculture’s woes is obvious: America’s farmers are deeply dependent on export markets, China in particular. So they’re hurting badly, despite a huge financial bailout that is already more than twice as big as the Obama administration’s auto bailout. (Part of the problem may be that the bailout money is flowing disproportionately to the biggest, richest farms.)
Shipping may also seem an obvious victim when tariffs reduce international trade, although it’s not just an international issue; domestic trucking is also in recession.
The manufacturing slump is more surprising. After all, America runs a large trade deficit in manufactured goods, so you might expect that tariffs, by forcing buyers to turn to domestic suppliers, would be good for the sector. That’s surely what Trump and his advisers thought would happen.
But that’s not how it has worked out. Instead, the trade war has clearly hurt U.S. manufacturing. Indeed, it has done considerably more damage than even Trump critics like yours truly expected.
The Trumpist trade warriors, it turns out, missed two key points. First, many U.S. manufacturers depend heavily on imported parts and other inputs; the trade war is disrupting their supply chains. Second, Trump’s trade policy isn’t just protectionist, it’s erratic, creating vast uncertainty for businesses both here and abroad. And businesses are responding to that uncertainty by putting plans for investment and job creation on hold.
So the tweeter in chief has bungled his way into a Trump slump, even if it isn’t a full-blown recession, at least so far. It’s clearly going to hurt him politically, notably because of the contrast between his big talk and not-so-great reality. Also, the pain in manufacturing seems to be falling especially hard on those swing states Trump took by tiny margins in 2016, giving him the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote.
And while many presidents have found themselves confronting politically damaging economic adversity, Trump is, as I said, unique in that he really did this to himself.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that he will accept responsibility for his mistakes. For the past few months he has been trying to portray the Federal Reserve as the root of all economic evil, even though current interest rates are well below those his own officials predicted in their triumphalist economic projections.
My guess, however, is that Fed-bashing will prove ineffective as a political strategy, not least because most Americans probably have at best a vague idea of what the Fed is and what it does.
So what will come next? Trump being Trump, it’s a good bet that he’ll soon be denouncing troubling economic data as fake news; I wouldn’t be surprised to see political pressure on the statistical agencies to report better numbers. Hey, if it can happen to the National Weather Service, why not the Bureau of Economic Analysis (which reports, by the way, to Wilbur Ross)?And somehow or other this will turn out to be another deep-state conspiracy, probably orchestrated by George Soros.
The scary thing is that around 35 percent of Americans will probably believe whatever excuses Trump comes up with. But that won’t be enough to save him.
WASHINGTON—President Trump rejected the notion that his trade policies were having a negative impact on the U.S. economy, instead blaming “badly run and weak companies” for any business setbacks and again urging the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates.
Mr. Trump said Friday that the U.S. doesn’t “have a tariff problem…we have a Fed problem.” He added: “Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs instead of themselves for bad management…and who can really blame them for doing that? Excuses!”
The comments on Twitter come as more U.S. businesses and farmers say they are suffering amid the prolonged U.S.-China trade war, ahead of a new round of tariffs set to take effect Sunday.
U.S. household sentiment fell in August from the earlier month amid concerns over a trade war, according to the University of Michigan’s index, released Friday. The gauge posted its largest monthly drop since December 2012, with about a third of consumers surveyed seeing tariffs as a negative driver, said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.
“The data indicate that the erosion of consumer confidence due to tariff policies is now well under way,” he said.
Fed officials cut interest rates last month for the first time in a decade, citing risks that included slower global growth, trade-policy uncertainty and muted inflation. Mr. Trump has called for the magnitude of rate cuts typically reserved for a period where the economy is slowing into a recession.
Fed officials have said businesses are increasingly citing trade-policy uncertainty—and not their own cost of capital—as a drag on sales, profits and investment, which is one reason officials are likely to cut interest rates again at their Sept. 17-18 policy meeting.
There are “no recent precedents to guide any policy response to the current situation,“ said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in a speech last week. While monetary policy is a powerful tool to support economic growth, “it cannot provide a settled rulebook for international trade,” he said.
The trade war is set to escalate this weekend. Mr. Trump, disappointed by what he described as Beijing’s failure to follow through on prior commitments, earlier this month called for tariffs on nearly all of the imports from China not hit by prior rounds of punitive duties. The administration later split the tariffs into two groups, with some products affected starting on Sunday and the rest on Dec. 15. Beijing also plans a new round of tariffs.
Mr. Trump last week said he “hereby” ordered American companies to find alternatives to Chinese operations, including in the U.S. Mr. Trump has broad powers to raise costs for businesses operating internationally and could use emergency powers to crack down on commerce, trade lawyers say, but he can’t unilaterally direct companies where to invest.
On Thursday, Best Buy Co. reported disappointing second-quarter sales and narrowed its revenue forecast for the year, citing the impact of U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made goods. Chief Executive Corie Barry said televisions, smartwatches and headphones will be subject to tariffs set to take effect on Sept. 1. Computing products, mobile phones and gaming consoles will be hit by tariffs planned for Dec. 15, she said.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that Beijing and Washington remain “in effective communication” about their continuing trade dispute, adding that the two sides are still discussing whether to proceed with talks previously scheduled for September.
The euro on Friday plunged to a one-month low against the dollar as poor eurozone economic data this week has bolstered the view by some observers that the European Central Bank will cut its benchmark interest rate at its September meeting.
BREAKING: Sarah Huckabee Sanders just gave an UNREAL excuse for Trump’s WikiLeaks lie, but Fox News host Chris Wallace called her out on it.
What the world has learned from Trump’s trade war.
This is the way the trade war ends. Not with a bang but with empty bombast.
According to multiple news organizations, the U.S. and China are close to a deal that would effectively end trade hostilities. Under the reported deal, America would remove most of the tariffs it imposed last year. China, for its part, would end its retaliatory tariffs, make some changes to its investment and competition policies and direct state enterprises to buy specified amounts of U.S. agricultural and energy products.
The Trump administration will, of course, trumpet the deal as a triumph. In reality, however, it’s much ado about nothing much.
As described, the deal would do little to address real complaints about Chinese policy, which mainly involve China’s systematic expropriation of intellectual property. Nor would it do much to address Donald Trump’s pet although misguided peeve, the imbalance in U.S.-China trade. Basically, Trump will have backed down.
If this is the story, it will repeat what we saw on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump denounced as the “worst trade deal ever made.” In the end, what Trump negotiated — the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, or U.S.M.C.A. — was very similar to the previous status quo. Trade experts I know, when not referring to it as the Village People agreement, call it “Nafta 0.8”: fundamentally the same as Nafta, but a bit worse.
Why is the president who famously declared that “trade wars are good, and easy to win” effectively waving the white flag? Mainly because winning turns out not to be easy, at all.
Trump’s beloved stock market hates talk of trade war. There is no broad constituency for protectionism — in fact, public opinion has become much more pro-free trade under Trump. And Chinese retaliation has hit hard at voting blocs Trump depends on, especially in farm states.
Now, agreement with China isn’t a done deal. Trump may also yet open another front in the trade war, against European automobiles. And the Village People agreement awaits congressional approval, and it’s not clear what Trump will do if that isn’t forthcoming.
Still, it looks possible, even likely, that within a few months most though not all of the trade war will have been unwound. So will it all look in retrospect like a passing storm, with few long-term consequences?
In the fall of 1968, Donald J. Trump received a timely diagnosis of bone spurs in his heels that led to his medical exemption from the military during Vietnam.
For 50 years, the details of how the exemption came about, and who made the diagnosis, have remained a mystery, with Mr. Trump himself saying during the presidential campaign that he could not recall who had signed off on the medical documentation.
Now a possible explanation has emerged about the documentation. It involves a foot doctor in Queens who rented his office from Mr. Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump, and a suggestion that the diagnosis was granted as a courtesy to the elder Mr. Trump.
The podiatrist, Dr. Larry Braunstein, died in 2007. But his daughters say their father often told the story of coming to the aid of a young Mr. Trump during the Vietnam War as a favor to his father.
“I know it was a favor,” said one daughter, Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, who along with her sister, Sharon Kessel, 53, shared the family’s account for the first time publicly when contacted by The New York Times.
Elysa Braunstein said the implication from her father was that Mr. Trump did not have a disqualifying foot ailment. “But did he examine him? I don’t know,” she said.
“What he got was access to Fred Trump,” Elysa Braunstein said. “If there was anything wrong in the building, my dad would call and Trump would take care of it immediately. That was the small favor that he got.”
No paper evidence has been found to help corroborate the version of events described by the Braunstein family, who also suggested there was some involvement by a second podiatrist, Dr. Manny Weinstein. Dr. Weinstein, who died in 1995, lived in two apartments in Brooklyn owned by Fred Trump; city directories show he moved into the first during the year Donald Trump received his exemption.
.. Beginning in October 1968, records show, Mr. Trump had a 1-Y classification, a temporary medical exemption, meaning that he could be considered for service only in the event of a national emergency or an official declaration of war, neither of which occurred during the conflict in Vietnam. In 1972, after the 1-Y classification was abolished, his status changed to 4-F, a permanent disqualification.
The doctor’s daughters said his role in Mr. Trump’s military exemption had long been the subject of discussions among relatives and friends.
“It was family lore,” said Elysa Braunstein. “It was something we would always discuss.”
She said her father was initially proud that he had helped a “famous guy” in New York real estate. But later, her father, a lifelong Democrat who had served in the Navy during World War II, grew tired of Donald Trump as he became a fixture in the tabloid gossip pages and a reality television star, she said. The daughters, both Democrats, say they are not fans of Mr. Trump... Mr. Trump has had a complicated relationship with the military, having quarreled with the likes of Senator John McCain, a prisoner of war during Vietnam; the parents of a slain soldier; and the architect of the Osama bin Laden raid, even while speaking during campaign rallies about his enthusiastic support for veterans and the armed forces. He has also been critical of people who have been less than forthright about their Vietnam records. Earlier this month, he chided Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, over misleading statements he made years ago about his own Vietnam record, calling him “Da Nang Dick” on Twitter.