Bankruptcy expert, keeper of the nuclear launch codes and man you can definitely trust with the future of global trade and commerce, Donald Trump, has a “modest” proposal when it comes to trade.
And here it is:
As usual, Trump has managed to cram so many contradictions and so much sheer absurdity into such a short soundbite that figuring out where to start when it comes to lampooning it is damn near impossible.
For one thing, the idea that he is touting “what he learned at the Wharton School of Finance” is fall-in-the-floor funny for obvious reasons, but more importantly, he is quite literally suggesting a system that is the polar opposite of the system he is currently trying to install.
On top of that, he doesn’t seem to understand what free trade agreements is and what they does (and yes, the bad grammar there is intentional). Here are a couple of the hilarious instant takes:
“No tariffs, no barriers, that’s the way it should be,” Trump says at press briefing in Canada.
Any nations that retaliate over US tariffs “are making a tremendous mistake,” and the US would win the war “a 1,000 times out of a 1,000.”
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 9, 2018
Trump: "No tariffs, no barriers, that's the way it should be. And no subsidies." He complains that Canada has "tremendous tariffs" on dairy.
It's genuinely unclear that he understands that the point of free trade agreements like NAFTA is to eliminate tariffs and barriers.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 9, 2018
Trump, in the middle of ratcheting up tariffs, says he'd favor "no tariffs, no barriers, that's the way it should be … and no subsidies."
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) June 9, 2018
For his part, Larry Kudlow is touting this as a “free trade proclamation.”
Do note how, at the end of the clip shown above, Trump seems to be pretty goddamn pleased with himself and he certainly appears to believe that everyone was i) very impressed, ii) taken aback, or iii) both. Let’s see it in slow motion, shall we?
I guess they’re going to go back to the drawing board and check it out, right?
“Back to the drawing board” it most certainly is, because given that this sweeping “proclamation” emanates from the same guy who i) just a little over a week ago slapped punishing tariffs on the E.U., Canada and Mexico, ii) told Emmanuel Macron that America wouldn’t stop until there were no more Mercedes “driving down 5th Avenue”, iii) threatened to impose tariffs on car imports out of concern for “national security“, iv) has been an insufferable bastard when it comes to renegotiating NAFTA, and v) seemingly decided, out of the clear blue sky, to scrap a truce struck by Steve Mnuchin with China on the way to threatening Beijing with the imposition of duties on $50 billion worth of goods within the next week, this probably comes as a real shock.
In fact, it probably came across as wildly disingenuous (every world leader in the room thinking to themselves, in their own language: “the balls on this fucker!“) right up until they remembered who they were dealing with, at which point it occurred to them that this isn’t as much Trump being disingenuous as it is Trump being completely oblivious to how crazy he is and also entirely ignorant of what the current system (the one he’s frantically trying to dismantle in order to please the Roseanne crowd) is designed to do.
In short, this is precisely what I was talking about in “At G-7 Meeting, World Leaders To Ponder Most Effective Way To Extract Agitated Man-Child From Control Booth“.
This also comes hot on the heels of the inflammatory remarks he made on Twitter ahead of the summit.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that in the very same press conference shown above, Trump characterized America as a giant “piggy bank” and the rest of the world as a gang of cruel “robbers”.
And while that would suggest he isn’t pleased with this global cabal of thieves, he went on to say that not only did he not “blame” these plunderers when he confronted them in Canada, he actually “congratulated” them on the heist.
Oh, and he said he’ll know “within 1 minute” whether his meeting with Kim Jong-Un is going to be successful.
Asked how he would make that assessment in 60 seconds or less, Trump cited “my touch and my feel”.
I’m honestly not sure what to make of this and I’m reasonably certain everyone else is with me when it comes to being bemused.
That collective incredulity is either more evidence that Trump is indeed playing a complex game of three-dimensional chess that the rest of us morons can’t figure out or else more evidence that he’s a complete fucking imbecile who is now taking the band on world tour.