Harding directed me to a tape of a conversation between Trump and Wilbur Ross, which has received a great deal of media play. Salon focused on the wrong issues, as you’d expect. They made a big deal out of the fact that Trump doesn’t care about food safety, unless it can be used as a protectionist weapon. But the media seems to be missing the big story here.
For the past year there’s been a debate about whether the buffoon we see in public is the real Trump, or if it’s an act put on by an evil genius who was trying to demagogue his way to power. (I’m told that Scott Adams is championing the second view.)
If the tape is accurate (and I have no idea if it is), then that debate is definitively settled. In the conversation, Trump comes across as exactly the sort of buffoon that we see in public. At one point he suggests that a 10% tariff could eliminate the budget deficit. And he really seems to believe this stuff, as he thought that he was in a private conversation with Ross. My favorite part, however, is when he explains how Japanese import barriers on food explain the difference in economic performance between the US (which has a per capita GDP of $57,294) and Japan (which has a per capita GDP of $38,894.)
You might be thinking, “OK, it doesn’t explain the entire difference, but certainly it helps explain the difference in economic performance, as those food import barriers prop up a very inefficient Japanese agricultural sector.” That’s true, but the idiocy of Trump goes far beyond what you or I can imagine. You see Trump believes that Japan is actually doing better than the US, and that barriers to farm imports help explain why. It’s like Trump’s most recent information on Japan came from watching the anti-Japanese film Rising Sun back in 1993, which was the last time Japan was doing pretty well.
PS. Last night Trump said he believed in free trade, and then in the next sentence pointed out that President Lincoln opposed free trade. And then he said Lincoln was right.
I heard they used multiple speechwriters. It showed.
The remarks came after Trump told reporters earlier in the day that the president would consider a compromise on immigration.
“If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades,” Trump said.
The positive overture from Trump on an immigration bill sparked immediate skepticism from Democrats on Capitol Hill, some openness from pro-reform Republicans and consternation from conservatives who have adamantly opposed overhaul efforts in the past.
The administration disclosed few details, but CNN reported that while Trump would oppose a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million in the country illegally, they could obtain some sort of legal status that would allow them to stay. One exception to the citizenship stance could be the so-called Dreamers who came here illegally as children — a population of immigrants to which Trump has taken a particular liking.
I have to say that even I didn’t expect this to happen so fast, even before the wall was built.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican member of the bipartisan Senate Gang of Eight that crafted a comprehensive immigration bill four years ago, said he would “potentially” be interested in getting involved again in reform efforts . . .
People greatly exaggerate the impact of Presidents. I predict little change in our policy on immigration, or almost anything else.