Just about every day now, even as he claims no worries about a recession. Donald Trump betrays anxiety about economic growth going pffffft when he's trying to win re-election. "Our Federal Reserve does not allow us to do what we must do," the president complained on Twitter Thursday.
It's not just him. A poll conducted for The New York Times by SurveyMonkey earlier this month, before last week's stock market gyrations, found Americans’ confidence in the economy is fragile.
Nearly 3 in 5 respondents to the survey said they were worried about the economy, regardless of whether they were among the 59% who said they were doing well financially at the moment or the 38% who described themselves as struggling.
Consumer sentiment is still strong, but not as much as it was. The Pew Research Center reported recently that just under half of Americans have confidence in Mr. Trump’s ability to make good decisions on the economy.
A separate Associated Press-NORC poll released Thursday found 46% approve and 51% disapprove of his performance on the economy, and that was best issue. He got lower ratings on immigration, health care, foreign policy and guns.
Where's it all going? No one is sure, including the Fed, which is sorting out conflicting signals such as rising employment but slowing factory output amid a trade war with no clear end, Reuters reports.
A bad sign that came Thursday: U.S. manufacturer growth has slowed to the lowest level in almost 10 years in August, according to preliminary estimates, the latest sign that the trade war may be taking a toll on the economic slowdown.
On Trump's mind
At Trump's request, White House officials said, the global economy will be the first subject for discussion at the G-7 summit of the world’s most industrialized nations that begins Saturday in France.
Global economic growth has slowed due to weakness in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, and a pronounced slowdown in China, the world’s second-largest economy, as it remains locked in a trade standoff with the U.S., The Associated Press reports.
He's confused about Jews
Trump has become flummoxed that Jewish Americans are not lining up to support his re-election, people familiar with his thinking told The Washington Post. His lashing out at Jews who vote for Democrats as stupid or disloyal is a product of a miscalculation.
He believed a hawkish interpretation that support for Israel should automatically translate into electoral support from Jewish Americans, not understanding that Jews are not a monolithic voting bloc but sort through a variety of issues like any American.
A separate Post story offers an explanation of Trump's history of remarks that he maintains are not anti-Semitic: He believes stereotypes about Jews, but sees those traits as positives, not negatives. Early in his 2016 campaign, he told a roomful of Jewish donors: “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money” and added, "That’s OK, you want to control your own politician.”
He implies American Jews care about Israel first, telling the guests at a White House Hanukkah party in December that Israel was “your country." At the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual gathering in April, he referred to Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister.”
A former executive at one of his casinos said Trump once told him: "The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
Slurs were outsourced, DOJ says
The Justice Department blamed an outside contractor for an email sent this week to all immigration court employees this week included a link to an article posted on a white nationalist website, reports BuzzFeed.
“The post features links and content that directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs," including an anti-Semitic reference, wrote judges union chief Ashley Tabaddor in a complaint to James McHenry, the director of department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.
Emailed briefings are sent to court employees every weekday and include links to various immigration news items. Justice said after the BuzzFeed article was published that the emails "are compiled by a contractor and the blog post should not have been included."
A sap for A$AP?
Trump and the White House went to extraordinary lengths on behalf of A$AP Rocky when the rapper was jailed and charged in Sweden following a Stockholm street brawl, and it wasn't just celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West who went to bat for him.
A Yahoo News report describes a parallel effort that enlisted two pro-Trump African American figures, Darrell Scott and Kareem Lanier. The pair are also upset Rocky never thanked the White House, even privately. Lanier figures it's because of potential blowback that an African American celebrity like Rocky could face for embracing Trump.
Campaign rhymes with Champagne
Running Trump's 2020 campaign has helped give Brad Parscale a taste of the high life, writes the Daily Mail. So far this year, he's bought a $2.4 million mansion on the water in Fort Lauderdale, a $146,000 Range Rover and a $78,300 BMW.
While his salary as campaign manager is $15,000 a month, Parscale's companies also get a percentage of contributions to the campaign and another $100,000 a month for consulting, video production, photography and web designing. One of his companies has been paid $7.3 million so far this year by the Republican National Committee.
Parscale's affiliation with Trump began in 2013 when he designed a website for a real estate venture, and three years later he was the campaign's social media chief. He told the Daily Mail: "I make no secret about the fact that working for the Trump family made me a wealthy man well before I ever became President Trump's campaign manager."
What else is happening:
- White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham brought a checkered record to the job, The New York Times found. She lost jobs following allegations of cheating on expenses and plagiarism and has two arrests on charges of driving under the influence.
- Grisham's predecessor, Sarah Sanders, is joining Fox News as a commentator starting Sept. 6.
- Trump joked about trading Puerto Rico to Denmark for Greenland during early White House discussions, according to the Times. NBC News found Puerto Ricans on social media who quipped it would be a good trade. It's an expression of the long feud over Trump's response to Hurricane Maria.
- The White House has backed off a plan to cut billions of dollars in foreign aid. It was a win for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who opposed the cuts, against acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
- Joe Walsh, a conservative radio host and former congressman, said he is "strongly considering" a Republican primary challenge to Trump. A former supporter, Walsh turned against the president after Trump's Helsinki lovefest with Vladimir Putin. He called Trump a "horrible human being."
- If you're looking for enthusiasm, don't expect to find it at a Joe Biden rally. It's still the electability argument, not excitement, that's keeping him on top of the Democratic primary polls.