Trump’s Sad, Ego-Salve Press Briefing

on June 5, 2018 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 05: Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett speaks on economy during a White House daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House June 5, 2018 in ... WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 05: Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett speaks on economy during a White House daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House June 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sanders held a daily briefing to answer questions from members of the White House Press Corps. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 10, 2018 2:45 p.m.

There’s a cardinal rule of politics, at least presidential politics. That is that the President gets the credit, especially when it comes to the economy. It seldom matters just who is responsible. Often it’s quite difficult, even in retrospect, to know who is responsible. But good or bad, the incumbent gets the praise or the blame. Right now the President’s Council of Economic Advisors chief is giving a presentation as part of the daily press briefing. But almost the entirety of it is making the point that absolutely, positively none of the good stuff has anything to do with Obama.

The truth is, politically speaking, it doesn’t matter. The President gets the credit regardless. But clearly the recurrent press coverage showing that much of the humming economy is simply a continuation of what was happening during Obama’s tenure has stung Trump greatly. This whole presentation was prepared with the aim of salving the President’s ego. It’s sad. Truly sad. The gist of the whole presentation isn’t “The economy is doing great!” It’s “President Obama had definitely, absolutely nothing to do with this. It’s all Trump. It’s all Trump.”

What’s notable is that under almost any other President, super low unemployment, solid growth and low inflation would have a President very popular. Even in this polarized age we’re talking well above 50% approval. The fact that it’s not, the fact that President Trump is only barely out of the 30s, is a testament to just how unpopular and disliked he is. President Trump could just sit back and do nothing – be normal, for lack of a better word – and he’d probably be in a strong position politically. Alas.

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