When You Lie All The Time, That Kinda Can Become An Excuse For Lying All The Time

A slew of stunning apparent reversals in economic and political policy from the President

  • Remember President Trump’s promise to eliminate the federal budget deficit “fairly quickly” and without raising taxes? “Hyperbole” his budget director says. We looked up “hyperbole” in the thesaurus, and it’s not considered a synonym for “lie” but it’s a big step closer than when Health and Human Secretary Tom Price said he “believed the President believed” the White House had a health care plan all but ready.
  • Remember when President Trump said he’d name China a currency manipulator on his first day in office and take retribution? Well now he says China is NOT a currency manipulator. In a Wall Street Journal interview [WSJ – Paywall], Trump instead took credit for the U.S. dollar being strong, saying “the dollar is getting too strong because people have confidence in me”, then bashed the dollar. (In fact, while the dollar is near historic highs, it has been slipping of late.)
  • Remember when President Trump said NATO is obsolete? Well, no longer! That’s because it is now appropriately focused on terrorism. Trump says that’s his doing too.
  • Taken together, along with his reversal on Syria, and you got to start wondering does anything Trump say matter. If he says something today, he has shown he will easily say the opposite tomorrow and pretend he never said his original view. It’s very Orwellian.

Maybe the New York Times and Washington Post should’ve kept their mouths shut.

  • Both reported the Trump administration had agreed to continue disputed Obamacare payments, apparently as a favor to insurance companies who were close to tearing their hair out about whether to offer plans next year and how to price them. And that apparently gave the President an idea: why not play chicken with the democrats; threaten not to pay, and see if that’ll get them to the table. The flip side is the Trump administration could look even more uncaring than it does now. It’s a complicated issue though, and there’s a lot of room for obfuscation (also not a synonym for “lie”) in the way it’s presented to the public.

But mind-boggling will always be mind-boggling

  • President Trump recounting the moment he bombed Syria in an interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo. Trump’s astounding stream-of-consciousness recollection is triggered by a slice of chocolate cake (perhaps borrowing from Proust’s madeleine, on second thought no way…), moves on to him mistakenly saying he had bombed Iraq, then touts US weapons superiority before suddenly remembering he’s said our military is “crumbling”, and finishes up with a strangely convoluted account of how China’s President Xi responded. It’s worth watching if you haven’t.

Trump is learning the world is complicated

  • Add one more lesson to Trump’s Presidency 101 classes. In the Wall Street Journal interview, President Trump explains when he met China’s President Xi earlier this month, the Chinese leader gave him a lesson on North Korea. Apparently either no one else briefed the President on North Korea or perhaps they did and he wasn’t listening. Because Trump told the Journal, “after listening for 10 minutes (to Xi), I realized it’s not so easy” referring to his earlier belief that China could fix the North Korea nuclear problem in a jiffy. No, Donald. Global politics, like healthcare, is not easy. [Vox]