When journalists discuss the state of the U.S. economy and report either good or bad economic news, they view it as doing what they’re getting paid to do. But President Donald Trump takes things personally, including financial reporting — and journalist Maggie Haberman, in an article for the New York Times, describes the ways in which Trump views reports of an economic slowdown as a conspiracy against him.
Haberman reports that according to people who spoken to Trump, the president believes that “forces that do not want him to win” reelection in 2020 “have been overstating the damage his trade war has caused.”
One indication that the U.S. economy is slowing down and could be heading into a recession is what economists call an “inverted yield curve,” meaning that the short-term interest rates for financial products like certificates of deposit or bonds are higher than the long-term interest rates for such products. And Haberman notes that the inverted yield curve is one of the things journalists have recently been addressing, along with a trade war with China and markets showing signs of a slowdown.
Trump, according to Haberman, interprets all of this reporting of a softening economy as an attack on his presidency — and the president, she points out, has “struck an increasingly strident economic tone” recently. For example, Haberman points out, Trump insisting during a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire last week that anyone with a 401(k) has “no choice but to vote for me” in 2020 because if a Democrat defeats him, “everything is going to be down the tubes. Whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.”
And Trump’s anti-media rhetoric, Haberman notes, was evident in a post on Twitter last week — when Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election. The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”
Another example of Trump’s “increasingly strident economic tone,” Haberman reports, came on Sunday, when he tweeted, “Our economy is the best in the world, by far. Lowest unemployment ever within almost all categories. Poised for big growth after trade deals are completed.”
Trump, according to Haberman, also sees Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as someone who is conspiring against him — even though it was Trump himself who chose Powell for that position.