Trump puts a little too much stock in his 'proper feelings'

Given the severity of the circumstances, I'm less interested in Trump's "hunches" and "feelings" and more interested in his plans.
Image: President Donald Trump at a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 5, 2020.
President Donald Trump at a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 5, 2020.Joshua Roberts / Reuters

About a month ago, Donald Trump rejected the World Health Organization's assessment on the pandemic's fatality rates, telling Fox News, "[T]his is just my hunch." Soon after, told reporters he had "a feeling" untested medications might be effective in combating COVID-19.

A week later, the Republican added that he had another "feeling" that state officials were wrong about their need for ventilators in hospitals to treat infected patients.

It was against this backdrop that a reporter asked Trump at yesterday's White House press briefing about his message to the nearly 17 million Americans who've lost their jobs in the last few weeks. The president said he has a "feeling" about an economic turnaround.

"Well, I think the economy is going to do very well. Now, that's just my feeling. It's a strong feeling. I've had good, proper feelings about a lot of things over the years and I think we're going to do well."

Not to put too fine a point on this, but given the severity of the circumstances, I'm less interested in his feelings and more interested in his plans.

The problem isn't that Trump has assorted instinctual, gut-level ideas. Rather, the problem is that he doesn't seem to have anything substantive to back them up. In other words, the president's superficial intuition and feelings aren't complementing his policy assessments so much as they've replaced his policy assessments.

Note, none of his recent hunches are based on detailed assessments of data and evidence; they're effectively guesses, which Trump is a little too eager to assume are correct.

This is, alas, a staple of his presidency. As Trump boasted in November 2018, "I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me."

That's not how responsible policymaking is done in a modern global superpower, though the president apparently has a "feeling" to the contrary.