Behind closed doors, Team Trump is telling wealthy donors that there may be a recession. That’s not what Donald Trump wants regular voters to hear, though.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told the donors at a luncheon (not just a regular old lunch—when that much money is involved, it’s a luncheon) headlined by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump that there is a real risk of recession, but it would be “moderate and short.” The White House is planning for various moves to mitigate a recession, though Trump is publicly insisting that it’s just stuff he’s interested in doing, no connection to recession concerns, move along now. Trump told reporters on Tuesday that indexing the capital gains rate to inflation and a payroll tax cut had both been under consideration for “a long time,” and that “Whether or not we do [a payroll tax cut] now or not is—it’s not being done because of recession.”
Using his Twitter bullhorn, Trump was even more staunch in his refusal to admit that there are some concerns, writing in full-on tween voice that “The Fake News LameStream Media is doing everything possible the ‘create’ a U.S. recession, even though the numbers & facts are working totally in the opposite direction. They would be willing to hurt many people, but that doesn’t matter to them. Our Economy is sooo strong, sorry!”
The U.S. economy is not in recession. But there are warning signs, and Trump not only doesn’t want regular voters to know that, he wants them prepped to blame his enemies—even as his team admits the obvious to people with enough money to get in a closed room with Mulvaney and Javanka. The hardcore Trump supporters won’t mind a bit, but the ones who can stomach everything else about him as long as they’re doing well might want to mull that one over.