Another sign that the economy is weaker than it first appears is the so-called yield curve, which measures the difference between interest rates on short-term U.S. government bonds and long-term government bonds. In a good economy, the rate for long-term bonds is significantly higher than short-term bonds, but recently long-term bonds have been slow to rise while short-term interest rates have been rising due to Federal Reserve policies. The yield curve has been an accurate predictor of past recessions, and it's now close to what it was shortly before the Great Recession.
By the time Donald Trump stepped onstage during Lee Greenwood’s rendition of “God Bless the U.S.A.” at the Make America Great Again rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on the evening of June 20, he was confronting the first crisis of his re-election campaign. Wrenching reports of federal agents ripping infants from their parents’ arms—the result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration crackdown at the southern border—had been playing in a constant loop on cable news. Chaos had engulfed the West Wing, too, as officials offered shifting and conflicting explanations for the policy: Trump blamed Democrats; Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it a “deterrent”; Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said it wasn’t. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to appear on-camera to defend the separations, according to two sources close to her. Melania Trump issued a rare statement critiquing her husband’s policy without first clearing it with White House officials, a source said; she even asked her press secretary to call a Trump surrogate and thank him after he derided the policy on CNN.
In response to these wanton guesstimates, Trump instinctually fired back at the guesstimators. “Forbes is a bankrupt magazine, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.” “Fortune has no idea what my assets are” and “has totally lost its way.” But the real sulfuric acid was reserved for the lowballers over at Bloomberg. As usual, Trump made it personal, even suggesting his “friend,” the former New York City mayor, might be jealous. “Maybe Michael told them to do it,” Trump speculated in the Daily Mail, “because he always wanted to do what I’m doing.” Perhaps wisely, The New Yorker—even with its legendary phalanx of persnickety fact-checkers—wouldn’t venture any closer than “just a back-of-the-envelope calculation” of $2.56 billion, “which shouldn’t be taken too seriously.”
We can be reasonably confident that "great" America did not exist long after that. Although the civil rights and feminist movements made great gains, knocking down legal barriers to equality and giving women, people of color, and sexual minorities greater rights and recognition than ever before, those victories brought with them a conservative backlash, which brought us an anti-abortion, anti-gay, often-racist wing of the Republican Party we still see today (and not just supporting Trump).
Trump appeared on the initial Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1982 with an estimated $200 million fortune shared with his father. Former Forbes reporter Jonathan Greenberg stated in 2018 that during the 1980s Trump had deceived him about his actual net worth and his share of the family assets in order to appear on the list. Trump made the Forbes World's Billionaires list for the first time in 1989, but he was dropped from the Forbes 400 from 1990 to 1995 following business losses. In 2005, Deutsche Bank loan documents pegged Trump's net worth at $788 million, while Forbes quoted $2.6 billion and journalist Tim O'Brien gave a range of $150 million to $250 million. In its 2018 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion[nb 1] (766th in the world, 248th in the U.S.) making him one of the richest politicians in American history. During the three years since Trump announced his presidential run in 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth declined 31% and his ranking fell 138 spots.
Trump's racially insensitive statements have been condemned by many observers in the U.S. and around the world, but accepted by his supporters either as a rejection of political correctness or because they harbor similar racial sentiments. Several studies and surveys have stated that racist attitudes and racial resentment have fueled Trump's political ascendance, and have become more significant than economic factors in determining party allegiance of voters. According to an October 2017 Politico/Morning Consult poll, 45 percent of American voters viewed Trump as racist and 40 percent did not. In a June 2018 Quinnipiac University poll, 49 percent of respondents believed that Trump is racist while 47 percent believed he is not. Additionally, 55 percent said he "has emboldened people who hold racist beliefs to express those beliefs publicly."
On June 12, 2018, after several rounds of preliminary staff-level meetings, Trump and Kim held a bilateral summit in Singapore. In a joint declaration, both countries vowed to "join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula", while North Korea repeated its April 2018 promise to "work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
This, of course, is the line that Trump crossed in a curiously unnoticed fashion in this election campaign. He did so by initially upping the rhetorical ante, adding that exclamation point (which even Reagan avoided). Yet in the process of being more patriotically correct than thou, he somehow also waded straight into American decline so bluntly that his own audience could hardly miss it (even if his critics did).
A few days after my visit to the White House, I went to see Bannon, who was holed up in his suite at the Regency in New York, the same hotel where Michael Cohen was ensconced just a few floors away. Bannon was giddy. He was fresh from Rome, where populist political parties he’d supported had just formed an anti-immigration, anti-European Union government. “Populist nationalism is on the move everywhere in the world,” Bannon boasted. Events seemed to be breaking his way in Washington too. “It’s like my white board’s there and Trump is checking shit off,” Bannon said. He marveled at Trump’s border crackdown and decision to launch a global trade war. “Trump is on the full MAGA agenda,” he said. Bannon admitted that he and Trump still don’t speak, but he gets his ideas to Trump through other channels, mainly Lewandowski and Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows.
Despite these trips, by the end of June Trump still lagged severely behind the number of states that his immediate two predecessors had visited during the first six months of their presidencies. Both Obama and George W. Bush visited every time zone in the continental United States, but Trump had visited only the Eastern and Central time zones. Obama and Bush took both overnight and multiple-day trips throughout the country. In contrast, Trump's domestic travels had largely been limited to a two-hour flight radius of Washington, D.C., and his only overnight stays were at Camp David, Mar-a-Lago and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. One of the benefits that Trump is speculated to obtain from such trips is more favorable coverage from local news outlets in the areas visited. Most of Trump's trips to Wisconsin were focused on the Milwaukee area in the southeast part of the state, which Trump won in 2016 by a significantly smaller margin than Mitt Romney had in 2012.
Serious proposals to impeach Trump for obstruction of justice were made in May 2017, after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and allegations surfaced that Trump had asked Comey to drop the investigation against Michael Flynn. A December 2017 resolution of impeachment failed in the House by a 58–364 margin. Since the Republicans control both the House and the Senate, the likelihood of impeachment during the 2017–2019 115th Congress is considered remote.
Trump is the wealthiest president in U.S. history, even after adjusting for inflation. He is also the first president without prior government or military service. Of the 43[nb 4] previous presidents, 38 had held prior elective office, two had not held elective office but had served in the Cabinet, and three had never held public office but had been commanding generals.
Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946 at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in the Queens borough of New York City. He is the son of Mary Trump (née Macleod) and Fred Trump, a real estate millionaire. His mother was a Scottish immigrant who initially worked as a maid. His father was born in New York, to German parents. From kindergarten ... See full bio »
Trump has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. He has been parodied regularly on Saturday Night Live by Phil Hartman, Darrell Hammond, and Alec Baldwin, and in South Park as Mr. Garrison. The Simpsons episode "Bart to the Future", written during his 2000 campaign for the Reform party, anticipated a future Trump presidency. A dedicated parody series called The President Show debuted in April 2017 on Comedy Central, while another one called Our Cartoon President debuted on Showtime in February 2018.
Both the Reuters and Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agencies reported on a fourth factory, this one in China’s Anhui province, which had been pumping out Trump 2020 flags and banners at a higher rate than usual, with Reuters quoting a factory manager as stating that her “buyers are located in both China and abroad” and that “she doesn’t know if they are affiliated with Trump’s official campaign or the Republican Party”:
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The day after his speech in Phoenix, Trump made his first presidential visit to Nevada (a swing state) for an American Legion event in Reno. Unlike during the previous night's rally, Trump did not attack Governor Brian Sandoval and Senator Dean Heller, two Republican politicians in attendance who have stood in opposition to some of the healthcare proposals championed by the president.
Of course, don’t furl the flag or shut down those offshore accounts or start writing the complete history of American decline quite yet. After all, the United States still looms “lone” on an ever more chaotic planet. Its wealth remains stunning, its economic clout something to behold, its tycoons the envy of the Earth, and its military beyond compare when it comes to how much and how destructively, even if not how successfully. Still, make no mistake about it, Donald Trump is a harbinger, however bizarre, of a new American century in which this country will indeed no longer be (with a bow to Muhammad Ali) “the Greatest” or, for all but a shrinking crew, exceptional.
For Democrats, the saying is, it could happen again. In between appeasing Putin and castigating NATO and tweeting out his unhappiness with the Mueller probe, Trump is doing what he loves most: running for president. His re-election effort is typically Trumpian: sprawling, disjointed, and bursting with confidence. In February, Trump announced that Brad Parscale, the digital guru with the Billy Gibbons beard who led his 2016 online strategy, would be his 2020 campaign manager. Meanwhile, Trump has been crisscrossing the country holding fund-raisers, building up a war chest of $88 million in his first 18 months. Many cast members from the original campaign are expected to reprise their starring roles, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, as well as Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie, and Kellyanne Conway. Even Bannon is starting to find his way back into Trump’s orbit after a bitter falling-out. This fall, Trump plans to deliver slashing stump speeches that stoke his base while defining his likely Democratic challengers long before they launch campaigns of their own. He’s already rolled out his campaign slogan: “Keep America Great.”
After the White House this summer claimed that Sen. Kamala Harris is “supporting the animals of MS-13,” the California Democrat — widely considered a potential 2020 contender — very quickly fired back, tweeting that she actually had fought gangs and transnational criminal organizations as a prosecutor before her election to the Senate. “That's being a leader on public safety. What is not, is ripping babies from their mothers,” Harris said, using a second tweet to enlist supporters.
Some news reports contained ambiguous phrasing which created the impression (without explicitly stating such) that the Trump campaign had ordered the production of Chinese-made campaign flags. For example, the New York Post described materials being manufactured in Chinese factories as “Trump’s re-election banners,” while USA Today called them “Trump’s 2020 banners.”
Trump, who filed the paperwork for “Make America Great Again” just days after Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election, announced his already-arrived-upon 2020 slogan in a just-published interview with The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty. The reveal comes in the middle of a must-read interview in which Trump seems to decide, on the spot, to nail down the new slogan and share it with the world.
On June 28, the president hosted a fundraiser at his company's hotel in Washington, D.C. benefitting the Trump Victory Committee, a joint fundraising committee that raises funds for both his reelection campaign and the RNC. The fundraiser was the first event that Trump hosted for the Trump Victory Committee since becoming president, as well as the first presidential campaign fundraiser. The event was co-organized by RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel and RNC National Finance Chairman Steve Wynn. The fundraiser was attended by about 300 guests and was reportedly expected to gross $10 million. Trump was joined at the event by First Lady Melania Trump and top White House advisors. Among those reported to have been in attendance at the fundraiser were Mica Mosbacher, Dean Heller and Katrina Pierson. Additionally, Harold Hamm and a number of high-profile figures were spotted in the hotel's lobby during the event. Press were barred from the event, a break of precedent since reporters were permitted to the first fundraisers held by both of Trump's two predecessors. Additionally Trump's decision to host the event at a venue from which he personally profits garnered criticism.