Does Trump Want to Save His Economy?


Strategists say there is a potential compromise to be had between Democrats and the White House, most likely in the range of a $2 trillion package, before Congress decamps for its summer recess. They do not understand why Mr. Trump would decline to seize a deal and risk watching Americans lose their homes and businesses as November approaches.

The president’s strategy to help the economy “is hard to decipher,” said Michael R. Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who has urged Congress to provide more aid to people, businesses and hard-hit state and local governments. “It seems to me there isn’t a clear strategy to support the economy right now coming from the White House.”

Mr. Trump, he added, “is just misreading how bad the economy is, and how hard of a shape workers and families are in right now.”

Some members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle, along with his allies in the Senate, have urged the president to oppose a large new spending bill, including some of the provisions included in the Senate Republican proposal unveiled on Monday. The economists Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore, who informally advise Mr. Trump, have told him to focus on a payroll tax cut for workers and businesses — a move that few Republicans support and that economists say would do little to help the 30 million Americans without a job.

Democrats in Congress say they are surprised to find themselves in the position of pushing Mr. Trump and his party to agree to a stimulus spending plan, given how central the economy has been to his presidency and the dire straits it is facing. Democrats say the package of proposals they are insisting upon — including additional money to test for and prevent the spread of the virus, extensions of supplemental unemployment benefits and more aid to small business, states and local governments — could actually help Mr. Trump win a second term, by lifting the economy and helping control the pandemic.

But the president has remained steadfast in his belief that the virus will soon abate and continues to portray the economic slowdown as a blip. During remarks at the White House on Thursday, he said that a comeback “won’t take very long, based on everything that we’re seeing.”

Asked this week in North Carolina if he was worried about the state of the recovery, Mr. Trump replied: “I don’t think so. I think the recovery has been very strong. We’ve set record job numbers.”



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