Imagine if your boss opened up the window several times a day and screams out offensive and incoherent things, which prompts people to come in to the business and demand an explanation, and you’re the only one there except the boss, hiding in his office. That’s what working for Donald Trump is like. On Tuesday, he tweeted this:
Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2018
There’s just one problem with that: China does not manipulate its currency. It did, for many years, but now it lets the value of its currency float. And literally on Friday, the Treasury Department issued its annual report on the economic policies of our major trading partners, which says exactly that. That report is required to certify that none of our major trading partners have policies to increase the trade imbalance, including currency manipulation.
That report concludes that “no major trading partner of the United States” — China being one of the biggest — “met the standards identified in Section 3004 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (the “1988 Act”) for currency manipulation in the second half of 2017.” It further notes that “Over 2017, the Chinese currency
generally moved against the dollar in a direction that should, all else equal, help reduce China’s trade surplus with the United States.”
That left Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to explain Trump’s tweet, which completely contradicts his own administration’s studies on the matter. So he goes on the show Squawk Box on CNBC and says, “It’s a warning shot to make sure China doesn’t devalue the currency as they have in the past.” But that’s not what Trump said. He didn’t say “They better not do this.” He said they are doing this. And why did he say that? Because he doesn’t care about truth at all.
He railed about China’s currency devaluation during the campaign, then after meeting with Xi Jinping he said that they had stopped doing it. Now he says they’re doing it again. The reality is that they stopped several years ago, but for Trump the only thing that matters is what is politically convenient to him at this exact moment. He’ll say anything, reality be damned.