For a man who sees himself as the messiah, President Trump has a lackluster record on Earth.
On Wednesday morning, he tweeted out with approval a conspiracy theorist’s claim that Israelis view Trump “like he’s the King of Israel” and “the second coming of God” (a theology Jews reject). He shared the conspiracy theorist’s puzzlement that American Jews don’t view him likewise.
Hours later, he explained why he has taken a tough trade policy against China: “I am the chosen one.”
Holy God complex!
I lack the celestial sources to fact-check Trump’s claim. But as messiahs go, King Donald of Israel, Blessed Be His Name, appears to be a false prophet:
● The economy teeters on the verge of recession.
● The federal government’s finances reach the worst point in 75 years.
● A trade and currency war rages.
● Threats grow from the Islamic State, North Korea and Iran.
● Trump feuds with Britain, France, Germany, Canada — and now, preposterously, Denmark.
● He calls the vast majority of American Jews stupid and twice calls them disloyal.
● Polls show Trump losing next year to Democratic challengers.
It would take a miracle to get out of this. And Trump can perform one.
He can declare victory — and then say he’s retiring after his first term. He can depart the White House in a flaming chariot, if he prefers that to Marine One.
That would be divine.
A combination of Trump-incited international tensions and shortsighted policies have put us on borrowed time. The question is not whether things will unravel, but when. If the economy collapses in the next 15 months, dragged down by Trump-instigated international instability, he will lose reelection in disgrace. If he wins and things go south after that, he’ll be blamed. Precarious U.S. finances and international isolation will make recovery more difficult.
Alternatively, Trump can step aside now and blame his successor for the problems he created. He can claim he achieved everything he wanted in just four years, instead of eight.
By one measure, Trump has been remarkably successful: causing chaos and disruption. He cut taxes, gutted regulations, cracked down on immigration, slapped tariffs on China, and withdrew from the Paris climate accord, Iran nuclear deal and Trans-Pacific trade partnership. And though he didn’t repeal Obamacare, he seriously sabotaged it.
But the consequences of Trump’s disruption are now surfacing.
The Congressional Budget Office forecast Wednesday that the 10-year federal deficit will balloon $800 billion more than expected, caused in part by Trump’s 2017 tax cut. As The Post’s Jeff Stein noted, this puts the nation’s debt at levels not seen since the end of World War II.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney this week braced Trump donors for what he hopes will be only a “moderate and short” recession, Politico reported. Three-quarters of business economists expect a recession by the end of 2021, their trade association announced Monday. Trump confirmed on Tuesday (before recanting Wednesday) that he is considering a temporary payroll tax cut to fortify the economy.
Much of the drag can be traced to the trade war. JPMorgan Chase forecasts Trump’s existing and threatened tariffs against China will cost the average U.S. household $600 to $1,000 per year.
Overseas, the Islamic State, which Trump proclaimed defeated, has again surged in Iraq and Syria and poses a new threat in Afghanistan. Also, Japan reportedly believes North Korea achieved the miniaturization of nuclear warheads — well after Trump proclaimed North Korea no longer a nuclear threat.
At home, white-nationalist violence is expanding, as Trump attacks racial and religious minorities and immigrants (the administration unveiled yet another crackdown Wednesday on migrant families). On Tuesday, Trump claimed that Jews who vote Democratic (nearly 80 percent of them) have “a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty” — reviving the anti-Semitic dual-loyalty canard. He repeated the slander Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Trump grows more erratic daily. He has contradicted himself on the payroll tax, gun background checks and his perverse determination to buy Greenland from Denmark. After Denmark told him Greenland wasn’t for sale, he canceled a trip to Copenhagen, blasting the Danes and their “nasty” prime minister, a woman.
Even if Trump were to pull himself together and win reelection, he has no better chance of achieving his remaining unmet promises in a second term. Eliminating the national debt? Getting Mexico to pay for a border wall? Draining the swamp? Not gonna happen.
No, it would be better for Trump to claim that he won so much and made America so great that there’s no reason to serve any longer. With so much bad stuff coming, he should quit while he’s ahead — or, rather, less behind than he will be.
Trump would enjoy a happy retirement, munching on Big Macs and asserting his messianic bona fides while blaming others for the ungodly messes he left behind.