America is paying an awful price for Trump

After a "wonderful ...

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 3:16 AM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 3:16 AM

After a "wonderful and very warm dinner" with China's President Xi Jinping, last weekend, President Donald Trump launched a barrage of tweets extolling his great accomplishments. The Chinese, he said, had agreed to remove a 40% tariff on American car imports; they would soon start buying US agricultural products; they had apparently made major concessions as part of a 90-day pause in raising tariffs. The stock markets revved up for a big jump, believing Trump's damaging trade war was coming to an end.

But a serious problem became apparent before long: China was not confirming the details that made Trump's claims so encouraging. Reluctantly optimistic investors drove the market higher on Monday. But by Tuesday, as China's state-controlled media specifically noted that there was "no confirmation from Beijing" about parts of Trump's claims, stock markets fell into a vertiginous downward spiral. The Dow dropped a whopping 799 points.

Donald Trump

Political Figures - US

Asia

Banking, finance and investments

Business, economy and trade

China

Continents and regions

East Asia

Financial markets and investing

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

North America

Politics

Securities trading

Stock markets

The Americas

United States

US federal government

White House

International trade

Trade and development

The next day, China finally expressed optimism about trade talks (without confirming any of Trump's specific claims) but by then the market had sent two clear messages.

First, Trump's lies, exaggerations and self-serving boasts may not bother his most loyal followers, but the rest of the world is not a Trump MAGA rally. Everyone else notices that much of the time the President of the United States cannot be believed.

Second, this loss of credibility comes at a steep price. It doesn't only affect Donald Trump and his closest aides, who faithfully bolster his falsehoods, damaging their own reputation. It ultimately exacts a price from the entire nation.

The President's chronic practice of saying and doing what he thinks is good for him is making the country itself less trusted by its allies, less fiscally sound and less respected around the world. America and its people are already paying, and the costs will continue to mount.

It may be comforting to believe that once the Trump era ends -- however that happens -- the United States will return to some sort of pre-Trump normalcy; that America's allies will trust Washington again and the friendships will continue as if the Trump turmoil had not happened; that the markets will have faith in America as the relatively trusted global epicenter of financial activity; that the world will once again believe what some once did, as former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said in his eulogy to George H.W. Bush, that the United States is "the greatest democratic republic that God has ever placed on the face of this Earth;" that they will again look up to the United States for inspiration on human rights, a free press, diversity and equality. But we should expect no automatic return to the status quo ante Trump on many fronts.

For one, Trump will leave America's fiscal house on a creaking foundation. After last year's tax cut, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the annual budget deficit will reach a staggering $1 trillion in 2020, with the national debt exploding.

Trump may have pretended to care about this issue before he was president, but the Daily Beast recently reported that when aides tried to show Trump the spike in debt -- a hockey stick shape, gently rising and then shooting up, vertically -- he noted that the worst part will come after his presidency. "Yeah," he said, according to a source cited by the Daily Beast, "but I won't be here."

It may be terrible for the country, but not necessarily for Trump.

The country will have to deal with the consequences of irresponsible fiscal management after Trump and his enablers are gone, just as it will have to deal with the lacerations he is inflicting on America's diplomatic alliances.

Trump has an unseemly habit of taking pleasure in the troubles of US democratic allies. You can be sure they are taking notice. With French President Emmanuel Macron under pressure from massive street protests and the French people enduring tense times, Trump took the opportunity to boast, gleefully claiming somehow that the protests prove him right in opposing efforts to slow climate change. He also reposted a tweet that falsely claimed French protesters were chanting "We want Trump." French media rushed to make the point that no such chant was heard in France.

Trump has not only rejoiced in the troubles of allies' leaders, he also disparaged them during their difficult times. That's the opposite of what a loyal friend would do.

After Trump leaves the White House it will not be easy to convince America's closest allies -- once bitten -- that they can place their confidence in the United States, as if nothing had happened. They are already talking about learning to live without America's security protection. That may sound like a relief to some in the United States, but it, in fact, weakens the country. America will not be as strong if it is no longer the trusted leader of a mighty democratic bloc.

When Trump seemed committed to protecting a friend, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, after Saudi agents assassinated journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he did it in a characteristically misleading, nonsensical manner, arguably making matters worse for the embattled crown prince. By so transparently equivocating about the case, claiming outlandish job benefits from an arms deal, and casting doubt on US intelligence findings, he drew even more attention to the case and managed to discredit both the Saudi leader and the United States.

We don't know how much longer Donald Trump will be President. He could remain in the White House for another two years, perhaps run and win a second term, or his presidency could be cut short by the multitude of scandals he has spawned. What we do know is that repairing the damage he continues to inflict will not be easy and will not be quick.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Florence
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 65°
Fayetteville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 61°
Decatur
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Scottsboro
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 61°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
Calhoun5997113
Etowah590564
Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
Cullman412636
Limestone404544
St. Clair398455
Elmore393961
Lauderdale382953
Walker349096
Talladega335942
Colbert296341
Jackson291924
Blount276336
Autauga263439
Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 344550

Reported Deaths: 4301
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby45771637
Davidson40820407
Knox17590140
Rutherford16907150
Hamilton15861136
Williamson1066473
Sumner9141134
Wilson705574
Out of TN692847
Montgomery622381
Sullivan609389
Putnam574379
Washington5596100
Maury554958
Blount512356
Madison5108105
Bradley483233
Sevier468131
Unassigned437714
Robertson357351
Tipton348736
Hamblen331557
Dyer308649
Gibson301161
Greene285971
Anderson273725
Dickson272827
Coffee263041
Bedford254428
Carter253453
Obion252247
Lawrence250732
Cumberland242335
McMinn234355
Warren227018
Hardeman221037
Roane220424
Loudon218418
Jefferson215331
Fayette214437
Weakley207734
Lauderdale200321
Monroe199042
Franklin193632
Trousdale189412
Hawkins181434
Wayne180810
Henderson178730
Macon176427
Hardin171825
White167517
Marshall165317
Carroll164732
Haywood159629
Rhea157130
Cocke154928
Overton150534
Cheatham149416
Campbell147621
Lincoln146313
Henry144617
Smith138319
Johnson137621
McNairy137632
Giles135643
Fentress117119
Lake11515
Bledsoe11425
Hickman111517
Crockett111025
DeKalb108920
Marion103917
Chester98819
Scott9587
Grainger92315
Decatur91512
Unicoi78525
Benton76114
Claiborne7559
Grundy74214
Lewis71514
Cannon7072
Union6915
Morgan6726
Jackson66010
Humphreys6537
Polk63214
Houston57319
Stewart55414
Clay52518
Sequatchie4965
Meigs46112
Perry46020
Moore3692
Pickett36612
Van Buren3422
Hancock1473

Community Events