Donald Trump Knows Nothing About Health Care, Taxes, or Trade

Is this Mr. Elegant?Dennis Van Tine/UPPA via ZUMA

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Politico has gotten hold of a transcript of Donald Trump’s interview with the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. It started out with a question about the Republican health care bill:

MR. BAKER: What have you been doing, Mr. President, sort of behind the scenes?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: A lot. A lot.

Good to know! Then we got Trump’s thoughts on taxes:

I want to achieve growth. We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world, essentially, you know, of the size. But we’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. We have—nobody knows what the number is. I mean, it used to be, when we talked during the debate, 2 ½ trillion (dollars), right, when the most elegant person—right? I call him Mr. Elegant. I mean, that was a great debate. We did such a great job. But at that time I was talking $2 ½ trillion. I guess it’s 5 trillion (dollars) now. Whatever it is, it’s a lot more. So we have anywhere from 4 to 5 or even more trillions of dollars sitting offshore.

Who is Mr. Elegant? Lester Holt? Then this:

You know, a lot of people say—they say, well, but the United States is large. And then you call places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and you say, you know, how many people do you have? And it’s pretty amazing how many people they have.

It’s amazing! They have so many people! Then this about trade talks with Britain:

WSJ: Can you tell us more about what’s going on?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, but I can say that we’re going to be very involved with the U.K. I mean, you don’t hear the word Britain anymore. It’s very interesting. It’s like, nope.

Wut? Then this about NAFTA:

WSJ: What are you looking for specifically –

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m looking for fairness.

WSJ: But what does that—can you give an example?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, it means—look, our automobile industry has just left us and gone to Mexico—I mean, a big chunk of it. And it’s very unfair for them to take our companies, build their cars, and then sell the car back into our country with no tax. It’s very unfair. They fire all our people in Michigan and Ohio, and they take it, and they build a car. And now they sell the car back in with no tax. It’s not fair.

This demonstrates Trump’s famous command of detail. In just this one interview, in fact, Trump demonstrated that he knows nothing about (a) health care, (b) taxes, (c) trade in general, and (d) NAFTA in particular. On none of these subjects could he dredge up more than the vaguest generalities. It’s like watching a middle-schooler trying to bluff his way through a book report on a book he hasn’t read.

And for closers, here’s a quick review of Trump’s relationships:

I have unbelievable relationships with all of the foreign leaders…I have a very good relationship with the prime minister [Theresa May]…I have a very good relationship with the EU people….I was with President Xi, who I have a very good relationship with…I have a lot of respect for Rex and his people, good relationship.

Everybody loves Donald Trump! Hooray!

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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