President Donald Trump believes that his political opponents are out to get him, skewing data on the one measure he thinks is his key to winning the 2020 presidential election.
In private conversations in the White House, the president said that “forces that do not want him to win” have exaggerated the toll that his “trade wars” have brought about, according to an anonymous source speaking with the New York Times. Trump has made other claims that seem to signify Trump believes there’s a large-scale effort to distort his supposed successes in the economy.
One needn’t rely on the anonymous source, however, to see examples of this: the sort of conspiratorial rhetoric the president is saying in private is noticeable in the public sphere, too. Trump last week accused the media, for instance, of deliberately trying “to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” the president wrote in a tweet.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
Trump has also accused Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve (that Trump also appointed himself), of acting against the president’s interests. He has also accused allied nations of hurting America’s economy.
Several economic indicators do not bode well for Trump, however, and it’s not based out of a conspiracy against him but rather true incidents that warrant his attention. The Treasury yield curve on 2-year and 10-year bonds inverted last week, an indication to many that a recession is looming. And his assertions that the trade wars are successful, including statements laying claim to the idea that China is paying for tariffs rather than the American consumer, are flat-out wrong.
Several have suggested, long before this recent reporting from the Times, that Trump has exhibited paranoid behavior while serving as president. Dr. Bandy X. Lee at Yale University, for instance, wrote last summer that “Trump’s growing paranoia is reflected in the vitriolic comments he has made about a range of perceived enemies,” including the media, per an op-ed she wrote for Politico.
In an interview with HillReporter.com earlier this year, Lee added that Trump’s behavior would only worsen as time went by.
“I think it’s going to be a very dangerous year in which we will see an acceleration of the chaos and disturbances that have happened in the past,” Lee said.