Treasury Secretary Embarrasses Himself During Rare Sunday TV Appearance

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As the Trump administration continues to roll out antagonistic and belligerent trade policy after policy, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made a rare public appearance on Fox News Sunday this weekend. He was apparently there to try and defend the Trump administration’s economic positions, but that’s not exactly how what he said rolled out. He contorted himself so passionately in an attempted defense of Trump that at one point, after host Chris Wallace asked how we should take Trump’s assertion that Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell is an “enemy” of the United States, Mnuchin defended Chinese President Xi Jinping instead of that duly appointed U.S. official.

Trump has consistently tried to rely on personal relationships to get the United States ahead. Considering there’s no current trade deal with China, but there is an ever increasingly sprawled trade war, and there’s no denuclearization deal with North Korea — it’s not exactly working. Mnuchin insisted anyway, right after Wallace asked about a tweet from Trump asking whether Powell or Xi is the bigger “enemy”:

‘I was with President Trump today, and he was very clear that President Xi is still his friend. He still has a very good relationship with President Xi. We’ve worked on lots of different things together, but as it relates to financial issues and trade, we have become enemies. We’re not making progress. But this was not intended to send a message that President Xi is his enemy in the sense of all these different areas.’

Who cares what dictator Trump has made friends with when U.S. businesses continue to suffer under the weight of the tariffs going back and forth that Trump continues to keep going? Trump’s hall of dictator pals isn’t at the top of struggling Americans’ minds.

Mnuchin had much less to say in defense of a U.S. official than he had in defense of a hostile totalitarian leader who has consistently upended democratic norms in service of his regime. When Wallace pointed out that Mnuchin hadn’t even addressed Powell, the Treasury Secretary shared:

‘I don’t think it was a literal comment that he is an enemy. But again, you know my position on the Fed is that I don’t make specific comments about the Fed. I meet with Chairman Powell weekly, and in my role as Treasury Secretary, I don’t comment specifically on the Fed.’

Watch:

Trump has been in a huff for some time over what he says are too high interest rates set by the Federal Reserve. He’d like more money to be freed up by lower interest rates so that economic growth can be inflated, rather than seeking some other kind of structural change to enact more deeply set growth. His complaints have unfolded as overall economic growth rates for the U.S. have stayed below an annual rate of three percent, despite Trump defiantly pushing for that level. It’s just not materializing.

Mnuchin isn’t concerned. During his Fox News Sunday appearance this weekend, he insisted that at this weekend’s G7 summit in France, “everybody is talking about” the U.S. economy like it’s the “bright spot of the world.” We’re supposed to believe that when the G7 summit isn’t even producing a customary joint statement because of such dramatic chasms of disagreement with Trump.

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