by Robert Reich
Three days ago, Donald Trump bashed NBC, tweeting: “Totally biased NBCNews went out of its way to say that the big announcement from Ford, G.M., Lockheed & others that jobs are coming back to the U.S., but had nothing to do with TRUMP, is more FAKE NEWS. Ask top CEO’s of those companies for real facts. Came back because of me!”
Here are four takeaways from Trump’s latest tantrum:
1. As usual, Trump has his facts wrong. Analysts say Ford’s decision to expand in Michigan rather than in Mexico had mostly to do with the company’s long-term plans to invest in electric vehicles. It’s easier for companies to find highly skilled workers to build new products, such as electric cars, in the United States than in Mexico.
GM said its plan was approved before the election, but it was “accelerated” under pressure from Trump. Relatedly, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler chief executive, said Chrysler’s plan to build some cars in the U.S. had been in the works for more than a year and had nothing to do with Trump. Marchionne credited the decision to talks with the United Auto Workers.
2. Once again, the tweet reveals Trump’s pathological narcissism. All Trump can think of about is “TRUMP,” which he capitalizes, then insists that the jobs “Came back because of me!” This is the rant of a child wanting attention and praise, not someone who will shortly be President of the United States.
3. It’s also dangerous. Although Trump’s outrage at NBC – like his condemnation of other specific media outlets that don’t report what he wants – is harmless now, it could threaten press freedom when Trump has power over regulators at the FCC and antitrust division who could make life difficult for targeted media outlets.
4. It’s intended to divert attention from the big stuff. Trump’s specific deals with particular companies diverts attention from his larger initiatives that will hurt working Americans.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act, for example, will leave at least 18 million Americans without health insurance next year.
Trump’s cabinet picks are overwhelmingly anti-worker. Andrew Puzder, Trump’s nominee for the Labor Department, wants to get rid of Obama’s overtime rule, which, if implemented, is expected to add $12 billion to workers’ wallets over the next decade. And Puzder is against the minimum wage.
And the huge corporate tax cuts and military buildup Trump is pushing will give congressional Republicans a rationale to cut Medicare and Social Security, in order to avoid bigger budget deficits.
A few jobs “saved” is nothing compared to these and other hardships Trump will be imposing on working Americans.
All told, Trump’s tweet tantrum reveals a great deal about the man who’s soon to be president of the United States. None of it inspires confidence.