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!

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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