Folks, I almost don't know what to do with this.
More than any other policy, Trump's global trade war may be his most signature policy. It's the only thing he can truly call his own as he's waged it directly from the White House using executive authority. He has slapped tariffs on solar panels, steel and aluminum from countries across the entire globe and imposed tariffs on nearly $300 billion in goods from China.
But he doesn't have tariffs, Trump told the Wall Street Journal. There are no tariffs. It's a hoax perpetrated by American corporations, or something.
“We don’t even have tariffs. I’m using tariffs to negotiate,” the president said, describing the tariffs on steel and aluminum he imposed this year as “small.” [...]
“Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere,” Mr. Trump said when asked about the risks tariffs pose to the economy. “You know what happens? A business that’s doing badly always likes to blame Trump and the tariffs, because it’s a good excuse for some incompetent guy that’s making $25 million a year.”
Someone better get the farm lobby on the line and inform them that the tariffs are actually a figment of their imagination. And while you're at it, you can tell them that Trump's bailout is canceled because the tariffs don't exist, right?
Someone should inform the Ford Motor Company, which has lost a billion dollars to Trump's tariffs, that the tariffs aren't real. They don't exist.
Look, Trump lies a lot, but this feels like something else. Trump regularly boasts that his trade war is paying dividends, but now he denies that he's even waging one.
I'd call it gaslighting, but I honestly don't think Trump is that crafty. Maybe he doesn't understand his own policy, or maybe he's literally losing his mind. These are not mutually exclusive possibilities.