Trump: Truth and/or fiction

James Freeman:

Bob Woodward is preparing to release the latest book describing a chaotic Trump White House led by an unhinged ignoramus. Also in the news today, the manufacturing revival promised by the alleged ignoramus is in full swing.

As is his custom, Mr. Woodward includes in his new book a great deal of material from anonymous sources. The result, according to his colleagues at the Washington Post, is a “a harrowing portrait of the Trump presidency.” The Post reports:

A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.

Woodward describes “an administrative coup d’etat” and a “nervous breakdown” of the executive branch, with senior aides conspiring to pluck official papers from the president’s desk so he couldn’t see or sign them.

According to the book, the most senior of the President’s aides thinks the President is out of his mind:

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly frequently lost his temper and told colleagues that he thought the president was “unhinged,” Woodward writes. In one small group meeting, Kelly said of Trump: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”

This afternoon, the White House released a statement from General Kelly that referenced a similar report from NBC in May:

The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true. As I stated back in May and still firmly stand behind: “I spend more time with the President than anyone else, and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship. He always knows where I stand, and he and I both know this story is total BS. I’m committed to the President, his agenda, and our country. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders addressed the book more generally today as “nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad. While it is not always pretty, and rare that the press actually covers it, President Trump has broken through the bureaucratic process to deliver unprecedented successes for the American people. Sometimes it is unconventional, but he always gets results.”

The results are not always positive, but she does have a point. Today the Journal reports on what’s been happening outside of Washington:

American factory activity in August expanded at the strongest pace in more than 14 years, despite rising tensions with some of the U.S.’s largest trade partners.

The Institute for Supply Management on Tuesday said its manufacturing index rose to 61.3 in August, the highest level since May 2004, from 58.1 in July. Sales of factory-made products, or new orders, output and employment all grew at a faster pace in August.

Based on this bullish manufacturing report and another pleasant surprise today in the Census Bureau’s report on construction spending, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta raised its estimate of economic growth in the third quarter to a sizzling 4.7%.

One might conclude that allowing the economy to grow by reducing the burden of taxes and regulation is so simple that even an unhinged ignoramus can do it. Yet many seemingly sane and knowledgable politicians have proven unable to grasp the concept.

Therefore we must search for other explanations. Could it be that Donald Trump is not as crazy and ignorant as Mr. Woodward and his media brethren would have us believe?

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