Trump’s worst enemy strikes again
By Michael Reagan
Donald, Donald, Donald.
Your approval ratings could be in the mid-50s if only you and your administration would quit stepping on your own good news.
Tuesday was a perfect example – the latest in a sad series.
First, we got word from the South Korean government that North Korea might be willing to “denuclearize” its weapons program.
It sounded too good to be true, and it probably was.
But for a few hours this week the Trump Hate Media were so giddy with hope they stopped beating you up.
They had no choice but to grudgingly point out that “Rocket Man’s” surprise pivot toward sanity might have had something to do with your tough talk to North Korea.
You were actually getting some favorable mainstream media coverage – but then later on Tuesday your top economic adviser Gary Cohn announced he was going to resign.
Cohn’s departure became the top news story of the day.
Of course, the Trump Hate Media pinned the blame for Cohn’s leaving on you and the tariffs you originally threatened to put on steel and aluminum imports from every country.
Goodbye, North Korean peace talk. Hello, more White House chaos.
The previous week you also stepped on your own necktie when you dropped the tariff bomb on America.
You instantly obliterated the good coverage in the media about the strong economy your policies have brought the country.
You also instantly wiped away the real political capital you were beginning to bank because of your massive income tax cuts.
It was good that you’ve backed off from your initial hard line steel and aluminum tariffs on every country and dished out temporary exemptions to our friends in Canada and Mexico.
But why drop the tariff bomb now?
You were doing great and riding high with your tax reform plan.
More and more middle-class people were seeing that because of you, their paychecks were bigger.
More and more were realizing that the Pelosi Democrats were lying when they said tax cuts would benefit only the rich or provide only “crumbs” to the middle class.
Steel and aluminum tariffs could have waited. You should have saved them for your second term – or, better yet, skipped them entirely.
Tariffs targeted to help or protect steel and aluminum makers are great for those industries’ workers and owners and their hurting hometowns in the short term. The economic benefits are concentrated and we can see them immediately.
But what we don’t see is the harm tariffs do to the overall economy in the long run.
They reduce competition in the protected industries, allowing them to pad their profits and jack up their prices.
Then millions of people and businesses across the economy have to pay slightly higher prices for the things they want that are made out of steel and aluminum.
Donald, if your tariffs were rushed into law so they could help the Republican win the special congressional election next week in western Pennsylvania, it was a political mistake as well as an economic one.
Nowhere in America, even in western Pennsylvania, was anyone standing around the water cooler saying, “You know, Fred. This economy is humming along.
Unemployment is down. All we need now are some steep tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.”
You carried the 18th Congressional District by 20 points. It should be a lock for a Republican candidate, but it’s only contested because of you and your administration’s self-made errors.
Democrats have no candidates, no ideas, no plan. All they have is you – to be against – and you help them every day.
I don’t know what will make you stop stepping on your own successes with your wild tweets or tariff bombs.
But if you’re really serious about 2020, or really want the GOP to hold on to Congress, you need a loud wake-up call.
I hate to say it, but if a Democrat victory in Trump Country next Tuesday would do the trick, I’m all for it.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.