Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He said he "just doesn't want a poor person in his cabinet" because rich people have the kind of "thinking" he wants.

At another of his 2020 campaign rallies, Trump said, "I love all people -- rich or poor -- but in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person." He added, "Somebody said, 'Why'd you appoint rich person to be in charge of the economy.' "I said, 'Because that's the kind of thinking we want.'" He was referring specifically to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose family fortune was made in diamonds over a century ago and who was groomed for a job with his father's firm, Goldman Sachs.

Trump is the heir to a real estate fortune and often claims to be a billionaire (which is indeed more likely to be true now that he is president) and his discomfort with people who aren't wealthy was known long before today. While there's no accurate way of assessing the wealth of his cabinet (or of Trump himself) based on information that Trump has been willing to release to the public, the minimum net worth disclosed suggests that at least seven are or are nearly billionaires. Trump also takes advice from billionaires like Carl Icahn (worth about $17B), which appears to be an excellent way for Icahn to make sure that he stays wealthy.

Because he calls himself a "populist," Trump is often thought of as having his base of support among the working poor. In fact, Hillary Clinton won a clear majority of votes below the US median income of $56,000, and Trump won the votes of wealthier Americans.

Why is this a bad thing?

  • A president who thinks that inheriting wealth gives someone the right "thinking" insults the vast majority of Americans born poorer than Steven Mnuchin.
  • Mainstream Christians who voted for Trump may be surprised to learn that he believes in the Gospel of Prosperity.