Monday, September 4, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He fit what appears to be his entire Labor Day message into 115 characters.

Trump is the first president since Herbert Hoover (and possibly earlier) to fail to issue a Labor Day message, unless his tweet from this morning counts. In it, he claimed that "We are building our future with American hands, American labor, American iron, aluminum and steel."

Trump's own relationship with labor--American and otherwise--means his relative silence will probably be better received than any statement would, but even so the tweet steps on its own message. The reference to aluminum and steel is probably meant to remind people that Trump has made noises about imposing tariffs on imports of those materials. That plan, which Trump may not intend to ever put into effect, is notable for the breadth of opposition it has attracted from within the US political spectrum. Trump's proposed steel tariff would likely benefit the country's 140,000 steelworkers--and endanger the jobs of 6,500,000 workers in industries that use steel.

The tweet also featured a picture of Trump and his wife, Melania, who was wearing a $2,255 dress created by a Greek designer and made in Italy. Trump's own wardrobe is a bit less distinctive, but if his suit, shirt, or tie was from his his own signature line, it was made in China or Bangladesh.

Why does this matter?

  • Providing Americans with jobs is the sort of thing where a sitting president should lead by example
  • A president who claims to be worth $10,000,000,000 can probably afford to clothe himself and his family in American-made clothes one day of the year.
  • America's workers probably deserve a little more attention on Labor Day than a single tweet.