Run the Presses!

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The Washington Post describes Donald Trump’s private attitude toward the federal deficit:

When former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn’s staffers prepared a presentation for Trump about deficits, Cohn told them no. It wouldn’t be necessary, he said, because the president did not care about deficits, according to current and former officials.

Trump also repeatedly told Cohn to print more money, according to three White House officials familiar with his comments. “He’d just say, run the presses, run the presses,” one former senior administration official said, describing the president’s Oval Office orders. “Sometimes it seemed like he was joking, and sometimes it didn’t.”

Nobody would care much about this except that apparently Trump has changed his mind and now plans a new attack on the deficit while simultaneously demanding (a) increased spending on a bunch of new programs he favors and (b) popular programs not be touched. The authors provide this example from a couple of months ago during the runup to the midterms:

When staffers sought to include an attack on Democrats’ Medicare-for-all proposals in Trump’s campaign speeches this fall, he initially blanched, two administration aides said. Medicare is popular, he said, and voters want it. Eventually, he agreed to the attack if he could say Democrats were going to take the entitlement away.

I’m trying to think of what to say about this, but I’m coming up blank. Trump “agreed to the attack,” but only if the attack was changed to something that was entirely false. Only then was he was OK with it.

That’s our president! The Post writers, needless to say, don’t bother pointing out that Trump’s frequently repeated attack was a lie. Sigh.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.