“Trump turns an Iowa rally into a venting session,” reads the New York Times headline. Which is a polite way of saying Donald Trump spent an hour stoking his ego with bragging and lies, as Maggie Haberman’s story makes clear:
He derided trade deals despite an Iowa economy that relies in part on exports. He denounced the $6 trillion spent and the lives lost in the Middle East over the last 15 years, despite his administration’s decision to reauthorize troops in Afghanistan. […]
And the president frequently embellished details during his speech, or told outright falsehoods. He tried to catch himself at one point, saying, “I have to be a little careful, because they’ll say, ‘He lied!’”
But he nonetheless plowed ahead, including misstating whether the Paris climate agreement, from which he plans to withdraw the United States, is binding. […]
“Like hell it’s nonbinding!” thundered Mr. Trump, who in fact called the accord nonbinding in his Rose Garden speech announcing the withdrawal this month.
But don’t worry, he has the climate thing fixed, what with his brilliant plan to put solar panels on his border wall. And he is definitely going to take action to hurt immigrants, including imposing “new” restrictions that are the same as ones that already exist.
Trump also touched on his cabinet stocked with multimillionaires and billionaires … sort of.
He toggled back and forth between telling farm-rich Iowa that he had fought for forgotten voters and lauding the wealth of Gary D. Cohn, his top economic adviser and a former executive at Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street giant that Mr. Trump derided in commercials in 2016.
“In those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person — does that make sense?” he said of Mr. Cohn’s job and that of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, another immensely wealthy man whom Mr. Trump lauded as a “legendary Wall Street genius.”
Those particular positions, he says, after also appointing an education secretary whose only qualification is wealth, attempting to appoint a labor secretary who’d made millions as a fast food CEO, and appointing a health and human services secretary whose millions include money invested in companies he was taking official action to help as a member of Congress. Trump hasn’t just selectively put super-wealthy people into “particular positions”—they’re the only people he’s interested in surrounding himself with, because he only values rich people. To the extent he can respect anyone but himself, his respect is based on the size of their bank accounts.
But while Trump’s approval ratings remain historically low for a president this soon after taking office, the 6,000 adoring fans who came to hear him brag and lie don’t care. They still think he’s on their side, and they gave him the ego boost he needed.