Donald Trump appeared on CNBC yesterday, and though the appearance wasn’t especially long, the Republican presidential hopeful managed to pack in quite a few remarkable claims.
The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale put together a list of 13 incredible claims and comments Trump made during his CNBC interview – in a normal year with a normal candidate, any one of the 13 would be the basis for meaningful campaign coverage – most of which were largely overlooked yesterday.
Of particular interest, though, was Trump’s latest economic conspiracy theory, which is a doozy, even for him. As recently as May, the GOP nominee said he agreed with the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates low in order to help bolster the economy. He said at the time that raising rates would be a “disaster” and he described himself as a “low-interest-rate person.”
Yesterday, as MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin explained, Trump not only said largely the opposite for reasons he couldn’t explain, Trump also accused the Fed of corruption with no proof.
[Monday], he said Fed chair Janet Yellen’s interest rate decisions proved she was “obviously not independent” from the White House and was, in fact, a partisan conspirator out to help Democrats.“It’s staying at zero because she’s obviously political and she’s doing what Obama wants her to do,” Trump told CNBC on Monday. “And I know that’s not supposed to be the way it is, but that’s why it’s low.” […]What changed between May and today? Nothing. The Fed has the same policy of low interest rates that Trump gushed over just four months ago.
He added that, once elected, “the new guy” in the White House would raise interest rates, which isn’t at all how the process works.
Trump went on to say that Janet Yellen “should be ashamed” of her efforts to help bolster the economy, which seemed bizarre, since the Fed chair is supposed to take steps to help bolster the economy.
I realize that the economy isn’t the most pressing issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. Perhaps that’s inevitable when the nation’s unemployment rate drops from 10% to below 5%, and Americans’ concerns shift.
But for those who still believe the candidates’ approach to the nation’s economy should matter, Trump’s comments were more than a little alarming. At least yesterday – who knows what his beliefs might be today – the Republican presidential candidate accused the Fed without proof of being politically manipulated by the White House, while simultaneously endorsing higher interest rates, which would slow the economy, despite having said the exact opposite four months ago.
For those maintaining lists of Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories and areas of policy incoherence, it’s time for an update.