By Duncan Smith
On Friday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany addressed a question from the media regarding what President Donald Trump’s “plan” is for rebuilding a U.S. economy shattered by the coronavirus pandemic.
After reminding the press that under Trump and GOP-favored policies, the economy was the hottest it has been in decades, setting one record after another as earnings were up and unemployment fell to around 3.5 percent.
She then explained that the president made the recommendation to shut down the economy in response to the emerging coronavirus pandemic because he believed that saving American lives was more important.
“I can tell you this, the president got us to the hottest economy in modern history,” she said. “He’s done it once, he’ll do it again.”
But, the media type pressed, “What’s the plan, though?”
After mentioning the Payroll Protection Plan as part of the last major coronavirus relief plan, McEnany said that Trump will continue to focus on deregulation, consider another relief measure, follow through on an earlier proposal to cut payroll taxes again, and so on, which are all things he’s been doing already (except spending trillions of dollars every few weeks so Democrats can pay off their constituents).
The media guy pressed again: ‘Yeah, but, but, the president is pushing governors to reopen their states, but Americans are nervous about going back to work, going to restaurants, etc. — so how, pray tell, will the president get the economy going again (if governors don’t want to open or people don’t want to participate in the economy)?’
What kind of question is that? It’s a gotcha question is what it is.
What she might have considered saying is something to this effect: “Well, you know, the president made recommendations about shutdowns but ultimately the decisions were made by governors — and not all governors decided to shut down their economies. So at this point, to your question, a lot of what happens with the economy over the next several months will depend on how quickly and how extensively those governors open up their states.”
Because the fact is, the original question, ‘What’s Trump gonna do about the economy?’ was predicated on the assumption that Trump did something to harm it.
For her part, though, McEnany said there is “a lot of pent-up demand” in the country for economies and states to reopen, and that’s probably true. But even if isn’t — how, exactly, can Trump be blamed for the economic and employment fallout over decisions he never made?