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What Now?! – 8/25/19

President Trump asserted that a 1977 law authorizes him, unilaterally, to punish businesses which continue to manufacture their goods in China.

Said Trump: “For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. Case closed!”

New York Times: “Mr. Trump’s threat to invoke the 1977 act to force companies to leave China would be his most recent unorthodox use of standby authorities that Congress delegated to the presidency for exigent circumstances. The president previously threatened to use those emergency powers to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, unless the Mexican government did more to stop migrants from illegally entering the United States.”

“As an ecological disaster in the Amazon escalated into a global political crisis, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, took the rare step on Friday of mobilizing the armed forces to help contain blazes of a scale not seen in nearly a decade,” the New York Times reports.

“The sudden reversal, after days of dismissing growing concern over hundreds of fires raging across the Amazon, came as international outrage grew over the rising deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rain forest. European leaders threatened to cancel a major trade deal, protesters staged demonstrations outside Brazilian embassies and calls for a boycott of Brazilian products snowballed on social media.”

“British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would be telling President Trump at this weekend’s G7 summit to pull back from a trade war which is already destabilizing economic growth around the world,” Reuters reports.

Said Johnson: “I am very worried about the way it’s going, the growth of protectionism, of tariffs that we’re seeing.”

“President Trump stands to save millions of dollars annually in interest on outstanding loans on his hotels and resorts if the Federal Reserve lowers rates as he has been demanding,” the Washington Post reports.

“In the five years before he became president, Trump borrowed more than $360 million via four loans from Deutsche Bank for his hotels in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, as well his 643-room Doral golf resort in South Florida.”

“The payments on all four properties vary with interest rate changes.”

New York Times: “Senior administration officials said that the agenda would center too much on issues designed to play well with Mr. Macron’s domestic audience — like climate change, income and gender equality, and African development — and was engineered to highlight disagreements with Mr. Trump’s administration.”

“They accused Mr. Macron’s aides of ignoring pleas by Trump administration officials to focus the summit, which runs through Monday, on national security and a looming economic slowdown. And they said Mr. Macron was purposely trying to fracture the Group of 7 by veering away from its longstanding mission of ensuring that the strains on other economies do not spread globally.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “suggested that House Democrats should refrain from pushing for President Trump’s impeachment, warning that a premature effort to oust the president could undermine her case for doing so down the road,” The Hill reports.

Said Pelosi: “The public isn’t there on impeachment. It’s your voice and constituency, but give me the leverage I need to make sure that we’re ready and it is as strong as it can be.”

“The series of economic and financial developments on Friday was a strange, bewildering, exhausting microcosm of why the global economy is at risk of a meltdown,” the New York Times reports.

“It showed the odd interplay at work between the Chinese government’s actions in the escalating trade war with the United States, the sober-minded global central bankers who have limited power to deploy and an American president whose public pronouncements often appear driven by grievance more than strategy.”

“President Trump arrives in France on Saturday for a meeting of the Group of 7 industrialized nations, having set the stage for fireworks and confusion. In one dizzying day, he had seemed to be searching for whom or what to blame for economic troubles, first using Twitter to call his own Federal Reserve chief an enemy of the United States and then to urge American companies to stop doing business with China.”

“And that was just while the markets were open. Later Friday, he said he would apply tariffs to all Chinese imports and increase those already in place.”

Politico: “Through executive orders, regulatory changes, political maneuvers and sometimes mere neglect, Trump has overseen major, possibly permanent, shifts in U.S. foreign policy that will be on full display this weekend in France as the president meets with other world leaders at the Group of Seven summit.”

“Thanks to Trump, current and former officials say, Palestinians may never get a state of their own, Iran may shun diplomacy with Washington for the foreseeable future and U.S. allies may forever be reluctant to trust their American counterparts. Relations with China, the effects of climate change and ending nuclear proliferation are among other challenges a future president may find harder to tackle in a post-Trump world.”

New York Times: “In the space of a few hours, he declared that his own central bank chief was an ‘enemy,’ claimed sweeping powers not explicitly envisioned by the Constitution to ‘order’ American businesses to leave China and, when stock markets predictably tumbled, made a joke of it.”

“Mr. Trump’s wild and unscripted pronouncements on Friday renewed questions about his stewardship of the world’s largest economy even as he escalated a trade war with China before heading to France for a high-profile summit with the leaders of many of the world’s other major industrial powers.”

“Even some of his own aides and allies were alarmed by his behavior, seeing it as the flailing of a president increasingly anxious over the dark clouds some have detected hovering over an economy that until now has been the strongest selling point for his administration. They privately expressed concern that he was hurting the economy and was doing lasting damage to his own prospects for re-election.”

“Facing a trade war against China that has shaken the global economy, President Donald Trump gathered his most trusted economic aides in the Oval Office,” the AP reports.

“The assembled brain trust for Friday’s urgent consultations included an economics chief best known for his stint as a cable TV commentator; a trade adviser whose pro-tariff views are outside the economic mainstream; and a treasury secretary (joining by phone on his way back from vacation) who made millions off the housing crisis and then turned to financing Hollywood movies.”

“Where past presidents have relied on top academics, business leaders and officials with experience in prior administrations, Trump has gone a different route, building a crew of economic advisers known more for their allegiance to him than their policy chops.”

Edward Luce: “The one good thing about Donald Trump’s failed bid to buy Greenland is that it softens up America’s allies for what is to come. This weekend Mr Trump will join his G7 counterparts in Biarritz for what promises to be one of the most bizarre meetings in its history. Summits are supposed to make global problems easier to manage. The G7 — and others of its kind, notably the G20 — are reaching a point where they result in the opposite: a world less manageable than if the leaders had never met. Mr Trump’s lunge for Greenland was the amuse-bouche before the meal…”

“Mr Trump badly needs a foreign policy win. The obvious one would be China. Most of Europe shares Mr Trump’s fear of an emerging behemoth that does not play by the rules. Unfortunately for US allies, Mr Trump’s remedy is to go it alone. Europe wants to handle China with a rules-based approach. The mere utterance of such words causes Mr Trump to lose his cool. If he can make it through a French weekend without accelerating the demise of the west — offering to buy a chunk of Europe, for example — that would be a victory of sorts. But the chances of that happening are slim.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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