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Some people say Trump wants it both ways

Summary:
A reporter recently asked Trump if he regrets ordering a lockdown. Trump said he thought it was a mistake, and then in the very next paragraph he responded to a follow-up question saying he thought it was the right decision. We’ve all seen Trump say he supports the lockdowns, then a day later suggest he supports the protesters, and then a day later warn Georgia not to re-open too fast, and then a day later say he supports the protesters, etc., etc.Trump’s most devious method of playing both sides is to carefully word his statements in a way that allows for deniability, something to which reporters are catching on: Trump was asked by a reporter: “With your tweets today, are you concerned that you might be stoking more racial violence or more racial discord?”“No no, not at

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A reporter recently asked Trump if he regrets ordering a lockdown. Trump said he thought it was a mistake, and then in the very next paragraph he responded to a follow-up question saying he thought it was the right decision.

We’ve all seen Trump say he supports the lockdowns, then a day later suggest he supports the protesters, and then a day later warn Georgia not to re-open too fast, and then a day later say he supports the protesters, etc., etc.

Trump’s most devious method of playing both sides is to carefully word his statements in a way that allows for deniability, something to which reporters are catching on:

Trump was asked by a reporter: “With your tweets today, are you concerned that you might be stoking more racial violence or more racial discord?”

“No no, not at all,” Trump answered. “MAGA says make America great again. These are people that love our country.”

Trump then played his phony plausible deniability card, adding, “I have no idea if they’re going to be here. I was just asking.”

One of Trump’s favorite techniques is to say “some people say blah blah blah”. As in, there are reports that hydroxychloroquine is effective, or that he personally was taking hydroxychloroquine. Then, if it turns out to be effective he can take all the credit, and if it doesn’t he can say “I never recommended anyone else take the drug.”

In an administration full of surprising developments, a few days ago he achieved a new milestone with a series of tweets (assisted by his son):

Some people say Trump wants it both ways

Notice that he doesn’t directly accuse Joe Scarborough of murder. Rather “some people think” he got away with murder. What does Trump think? “Isn’t it obvious?”

Let’s play armchair detective and think about why Joe Scarborough would have murdered a young woman who worked for him when he was a congressman in DC. What does Trump want you to think?

Trump’s twitter followers don’t know much about nuclear disarmament or monetary policy, but they sure as heck know a lot about powerful men murdering young women who are close acquaintances. We’ve all seen dozens of films with this theme. These powerful men generally do not murder young women in order to steal their wallet.

I’m not going to insinuate anything about Joe Scarborough, or anything about what Trump is trying to do here, but “some people say” that police have found almost all murders of young women to be crimes of passion, and a boyfriend is often the guilty party.

Some people say that even victims of crimes of passion have their reputations dragged through the mud. The unfortunate Lori Klausutis’s widower certainly felt that way, as he was quite upset about Trump’s tweets.

I have mourned my wife every day since her passing. I have tried to honor her memory and our marriage. As her husband, I feel that one of my marital obligations is to protect her memory as I would have protected her in life. There has been a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories since the day she died. ..

The frequency, intensity, ugliness, and promulgation of these horrifying lies ever increases on the internet.

Some people say that Mr. Klausutis was remarkably restrained, given that Trump’s tweets seemed like the despicable act of a deranged madman:

Timothy Klausutis, Lori’s widower, wrote a remarkably restrained, poignant letter to Jack Dorsey, the head of Twitter, citing the pain that Mr. Trump’s “horrifying lies” about his wife’s death have caused him and the family, and asking Mr. Dorsey to remove Mr. Trump’s tweet. 

What do I think about all of this? Like Trump, I’m not offering any opinion. If you disagree with anything in this post then please respond to the people that I have cited. Don’t leave a comment.

I will make a prediction, however. Stage one was pre-impeachment Trump, when he had to worry about various investigations as well as keeping the GOP in line. Now we are in stage two Trump, when he knows he can do anything he wants and the GOP won’t dare impeach him. But he does still have to worry about re-election in November, and thus doesn’t want to turn off swing voters.

In 2021 we will see stage three Trump, a man with literally nothing to constrain him.

Some people say we have never seen the real Trump. That he has a taste for revenge against those that slight him, even entire countries that slight him, which is almost unbounded. That he has an unstable personality that gets worse with age. Some people say that we’ll only see that Trump emerge in 2021, after he is re-elected.

Others say the real Trump has the courage and modesty and unselfishness and integrity of George Washington, and that we’ll see that Trump emerge in 2021.

Who’s right? “Isn’t it obvious?”

PS. More than 100,000 dead from a preventable plague, unemployment at 14.7% (probably 20%), our cities engulfed in flames, the rest of the world hates us. I think I’ll take a long nap—wake me up when America’s “great again”.

PPS. In case you are wondering, the riots of the 1960s did not affect the macroeconomy.


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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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