Monday, September 2, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He celebrated Labor Day, as only he can.

Last Friday, as presidents do every year, Trump signed a Labor Day proclamation. It made only one indirect reference to the existence of labor unions, and read more like a list of campaign promises than a celebration of the labor movement, but went largely unnoticed as these things tend to do.

Today, though, on the actual day itself, Trump took to Twitter to attack a union leader for opposing his trade war. Trump's trade war is deeply unpopular with Americans, most of whom have seen the meager savings from the 2017 tax cut wiped out by increased costs in consumer goods caused by the tariffs. (Tariffs are taxes on consumer goods, and they are passed on to consumers like all business expenses.)

Trump also mocked union workers directly in the tweets, while at the same time insisting that he had "the workers'" votes sewn up.

Trump spent most of Labor Day at his luxury golf course in Sterling, Virginia. The Trump National Golf Course there is one of many Trump properties caught hiring undocumented immigrant workers. Trump denied any responsibility—although many such workers have cited close relationships with Trump family members who certainly knew. But he excused himself by saying (falsely) that "probably every club in the United States" illegally hired immigrants with no work papers.

Why should I care about this?

  • It's insulting for a politician to treat workers as though they belonged to him personally, especially if they didn't vote for him the first time around.
  • Presidents who rail against immigrants taking American jobs, but then do everything possible inside and outside the law to hire foreigners, should probably just stay quiet on Labor Day.
  • It's not unions' fault that an overwhelming majority of Americans don't like Trump's trade war.