On the first day of Senate confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry let America know what he really thinks of the new commander-in-chief.
Speaking at a forum hosted by the US Institute of Peace, Kerry did his best Heisenberg impression (without the hat, glasses, and liquor), deriding Trump for turning Twitter into a bully pulpit. Compare and contrast…
Heisenberg on Monday:
Those who frequent these pages are well aware of how absurd (not to mention dangerous) I think it is that Donald Trump has seemingly decided that Twitter is as good a venue as any for floating policy trial balloons. Trump’s Twitter addiction generates a kind of bizarre verbal collage that commingles self-worship, personal vendettas, and Trump’s own brand of foreign policy. It’s an exercise in social media-assisted stream of consciousness and if the feed is a window into the new commander-in-chief’s mind, then we can’t say we weren’t warned when something goes terribly wrong.
Kerry on Tuesday:
If policies are going to be made in 140 characters on Twitter, and every reasonable measurement of accountability is being bypassed, and people don’t care about it, we have a problem.
Kerry also suggested that procedural norms were systematically ignored going into this week’s confirmation hearings…
We have a whole bunch of hearings that are taking place without any — and I’m stepping beyond my bailiwick, but it’s quite amazing to me when I think of the hoops I had to jump through with respect to papers submitted and documentation and tax returns and a whole bunch of things. Suddenly, that’s gone poof and it’s not as important. So I think we have a lot of reckoning to do in our country in the next days and months, and I can assure you that when I’m out of this office, I’m gonna spend time along with a lot of others trying to focus on it.
…and went on to warn against the rise of would-be authoritarian leaders pushing populism on an electorate that’s forgotten how to think critically…
Every country in the world better start worrying about authoritarian populism and the absence of substance in our dialogue.
And John Kerry wasn’t the only one talking Trump on Tuesday. Bill Gross was out cautious on the outlook for Trump-o-nomics, warning that while Twitter may suffice for now, eventually we’ll have to see actual results. Here’s the (former) bond king:
President-elect Trump tweets and markets listen for now, but ultimately their value is dependent on a jump step move from the 2% real GDP growth rate of the past 10 years to a 3%-plus annual advance. 3% growth rates historically have propelled corporate profits to a somewhat higher clip because of financial and operating leverage dependent on higher growth.
2% or less typically has smothered corporate profits. The 1% difference between 2 and 3 is therefore critical. We shall see whether Republican/Trumpian orthodoxy can stimulate an economy that in some ways is at full capacity already. To do so would require a significant advance in investment spending which up until now has taken a backseat to corporate stock buybacks and merger/acquisition related uses of cash flow.
That would be the same Bill Gross who likened Trump to Mussolini last week.
So far, there’s been no Twitter response from the orange-ish, soon-to-be leader of the free world, but Trump did have time to tweet a picture of himself with Ronald and Nancy Reagan…
…before congratulating himself on data out today which showed small business optimism soaring by the most since… well… by the most since Reagan…
Here’s the full Kerry video for those interested: