Mnuchin’s ‘Fox Sunday’ Appearance Turns Into Trump PR Disaster

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been closely involved in the Trump administration’s Coronavirus response work, but during a Fox News Sunday appearance this weekend, he didn’t exactly have some kind of grand reassuring message for concerned Americans. Instead, he quickly devolved into bland praise for the president and an outright dismissal of the question of whether or not the U.S. economy has entered a recession status. Americans can’t use dictatorship-style Trump-worship to put food on their tables as the economy grinds to a halt, but Mnuchin offered that anyway.

In discussion with guest host John Roberts, Mnuchin covered the ongoing negotiations for a huge stimulus package for the U.S. economy, which has been hit hard by efforts to constrict the spread of the Coronavirus. Businesses across the country have completely shut down, often at the direct order of local officials.

The current plan to alleviate some of the financial damage includes small business support, expanded unemployment insurance, and direct payments to many Americans — although the quantity of those proposed payments has already dialed down from two to one, apparently.

Mnuchin told Roberts:

‘For now, in this legislation, it is one payment, but for now, let me just say: these three pieces all tie together. Workers will get money through the small business program, again through retention, they’ll get money through unemployment, and they’ll get effectively this bridge check payment, which is really a direct deposit. So these three programs all work very quickly, and if, for whatever reason — ten weeks from now, this virus, we haven’t won this, we’ll go back to Congress again. But I think we’re injecting a lot of liquidity into the system, and hard-working Americans know that the president wants to protect them, and we’re doing everything we can to support that.’

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In a time of crisis, Mnuchin and his colleagues appear to be again resorting to the myth of trickle-down economics. His other notion, that Americans “know that the president wants to protect them” like he’s some kind of pseudomessiah, rests on questionable ground at best. Is Trump’s work to protect Americans why he’s failed to direct the production of medical supplies that struggling and sick Americans need? Is it why he’s been touting dangerous, unproven drugs as a potential Coronavirus cure? Is it why his administration spent weeks failing to produce the tests necessary for a comprehensive regimen?

Roberts also asked Mnuchin whether or not the U.S. economy is in a recession, and the Treasury Secretary replied:

‘I think that’s a technical question that in this situation is not terribly relevant. Are we going to have reduced economic activity this quarter? Absolutely. I think next quarter, a lot depends on how quickly the curve of the medical situation works.’

He added that it’s also worth noting that the economy should quickly get moving again after the Coronavirus passes. The problem, though, is that no one knows when exactly that will be. Americans are struggling right now — they don’t need rosy promises about how the economic situation will get better one undetermined day down the road. They need assistance.