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Trump kills Americans to look good? No kidding!

Summary:
I have argued that Trump would gladly kill enormous numbers of Americans to get re-elected. On the other hand, that’s not the sort of thing that a president admits publicly. It sounds kinda bad.To his credit, Trump is willing to admit this quite publicly. His administration was so horrified by his recent comments that they rushed out a statement saying that he was just kidding, as they did after numerous other “gaffes”. But Trump’s having none of that, he continues to insist that he’s dead serious: A day after the White House said President Trump was joking about ordering a slowdown in coronavirus testing to avoid an embarrassing increase in the number of cases, Trump responded to a question about the incident by saying, “I don’t kid.”Trump made the eye-opening claim

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I have argued that Trump would gladly kill enormous numbers of Americans to get re-elected. On the other hand, that’s not the sort of thing that a president admits publicly. It sounds kinda bad.

To his credit, Trump is willing to admit this quite publicly. His administration was so horrified by his recent comments that they rushed out a statement saying that he was just kidding, as they did after numerous other “gaffes”.

But Trump’s having none of that, he continues to insist that he’s dead serious:

A day after the White House said President Trump was joking about ordering a slowdown in coronavirus testing to avoid an embarrassing increase in the number of cases, Trump responded to a question about the incident by saying, “I don’t kid.”

Trump made the eye-opening claim at his rally in Tulsa Saturday night. “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people. You’re going to find more cases!” he told the crowd. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please!’”

The president had expressed frustration over the rise in cases, attributing it to more widespread testing. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 2.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, far more than in any other country.

Now it’s possible that Trump’s one of those post-modern comedians that maintains the act for an unusually long period of time. Maybe at the end of his administration he’ll admit that it was all a joke—the comments on bleach, testing, Russian help in sabotaging Hillary’s campaign, and all the rest. He’s the Andy Kaufman of politicians, able to play it straight until we’re all squirming in our seats.

Or maybe he’s just completely nuts.

Trump kills Americans to look good?  No kidding!

PS. Note to commenters. I’ve taken no position on whether Trump was kidding or not. So don’t leave comments suggesting I have. Nor do I have an opinion on whether Peter Navarro was joking when he said the China trade deal was called off, or later in the day when he retracted that claim.

I just think it’s kind of interesting that we now live in a country where the executive branch seems confused as to whether the president is kidding. At this rate, what’s Trump going to be like in 2024, when he’s 4 years older?

BTW: What’s worse? The staff claim that Trump likes to joke about a plague that’s killed 120,000 Americans? Or Trump’s call to slow the testing because it looks bad? Decisions, decisions. .

PPS. Andy Kaufman would have also made an interesting president.

PPPS. One last NYT quote, in case I have to start boycotting the newspaper later this week:

It has always been ludicrous for the Trump campaign to denounce “Beijing Biden,” when Trump publicly lavishes more affection on Xi than on Melania. “President Xi is extremely capable,” is “strong, sharp and powerfully focused,” is “doing a very good job,” and is “a man who truly loves his country,” Trump has said on various occasions this year alone.

My own view as a China-watcher who lived for years in Beijing is that we should stand up to Xi where we need to — while also negotiating on trade and seeking ways to cooperate on climate change, pandemics and more. Trump does the opposite: He bungles trade and achieves nothing there, fails to cooperate on climate or health, damages America’s alliances and ignores Xi’s worst abuses, all while flattering Xi in apparent hopes of getting re-election help.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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