Trump keeps lashing out at reports showing his trade war is hurting the economy even while his team secretly fears it's the truth.
The Trump team is admitting in private that concerns about a possible economic recession are legitimate, despite publicly downplaying concerns and attacking the media for reporting accurately on negative economic indicators.
"At a fundraising luncheon this week in Jackson, Wyo., headlined by both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged the risks to the GOP elite behind closed doors," Politico reported on Monday.
Mulvaney reportedly told a group of 50 Republican donors that there is the possibility of a "moderate and short" recession.
The Trump team is also discussing several possible policy responses to a recession, including a payroll tax cut (which has negative implications for Social Security) and more cuts to corporate taxes — similar to cuts made as part of Trump's earlier tax law.
The private concessions are nearly the exact opposite of what Trump and his team have been saying in public.
Trump's trade war, his central economic policy, has been singled out by economists for contributing to a possible recession, while farmers have repeatedly pointed out how the policy has hurt their business and communities. Trump has been defensive about the role his trade war may be playing in reversing the economic recovery he inherited from President Barack Obama.
Trump has bolstered the economic happy talk by bashing the media for merely reporting on negative economic news.
"The Fake News LameStream Media is doing everything possible the 'create' a U.S. recession," Trump wrote on Tuesday. "Our Economy is sooo strong."
"I don't see a recession at all," White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told Fox News on Sunday. "There's no recession on the horizon."
Kudlow made eerily similar remarks in 2007 as the global economy was plunging into one of the longest economic recessions in modern history.
Even as 74% of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics expressed recession fears on Monday, senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway told the press "the Trump economy" is doing great.
She bashed reporters for taking note of news saying otherwise, lamenting that they only cover the economy "when you can use the 'Sesame Street' word of the day, 'recession.'"
"The fundamentals of our economy are very strong," Conway insisted.
Yet in private, away from Twitter and the television cameras, Trump's team is saying something very different about the state of the economy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.