Trump Considers Getting Hospitals Ventilators Nationalization But a Bailout for Him and His Rich Buddies Necessity

Yesterday, Trump sent remarkably mixed signals in his press conference. He was asked whether he was going to use the Defense Production Act to address the shortage in key medical supplies. He replied by suggesting that using DPA to push manufacturers to prioritize urgently needed supplies amounts to nationalization.

We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept.

He went on to suggest his Administration doesn’t know who could fill urgent needs, which sounds like a confession that he shouldn’t have fired the pandemic experts.

Later however, Trump treated the socialization of big business losses — of his big business losses — as an acceptable step to save great businesses. After Seung Min Kim asked whether Trump would commit that none of the funds from a $500 billion bailout of big businesses would go to his company, he complained that he hasn’t been thanked for things like taking no salary. He ultimately said he would see, the kind of deferral he often uses to avoid saying yes.

He returned to his complaints later in the presser. In response to a question about whether he had sold stock, he first lied, and claimed that he didn’t own any. He rambled for minutes complaining about being booed. Ultimately, however, he complained about how much it cost rich people to run for office.

A big part of the reason the economy had to be shut down is because Trump did not respond in January when he was warned of the pandemic. And now he’s treating taking steps to provide medical workers the equipment they need as some kind of socialism but bailing himself out as a necessity.

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90 replies
  1. Nehoa says:

    Hard to say which is worse – Trump or the GOP Senate. With Trump it is simply who he is. The GOP Senators are just morally bankrupt.

      • Nehoa says:

        The difference is that Trump “was born this way” and the GOP Senators made a decision to sell their souls.

        • Bardi says:

          “The difference is that Trump “was born this way””

          The difference is that Trump “was raised this way” FIFY

          • P J Evans says:

            Trmp WAS “born this way” – he’s been a narcissist since he was a small child. It’s worse because he was *also* raised to be a bully.

    • TimH says:

      I’d like to propose a meme… if everbody supports their local family owned business, that will help the people that we care about. Buy groceries from that ethic corner store with the Hunganian cheeses or halal sausage. Don’t go Safeway, Costco, Walmart. Get (delivered) takeout from that tiny Chinese or pizza place… not the big chains.

      Support the small businesses now that won’t be bailed out.

  2. P J Evans says:

    Billionaires can bail out their own companies. Having less money won’t make them impoverished.
    If Trmp wants to plead poverty, he can provide his tax returns – all of them – for the last 20 years.

  3. OldTulsaDude says:

    Apologies for being OT but this administration cannot be trusted with trillions in a slush fund. And I question why there isn’t some kind of punishment for a president who has been impeached but not removed by the Senate. It struck me that an amendment that would negate the Presidential pardon power for an impeached president would be about right.

    • Yargelsnogger says:

      Yes, democrats need to attach a provision to the bailout money that bars anyone in the executive branch chain of command controlling the disbursement of this money to receive any benefit from it. Something like the (ignored) lease on Trump’s DC hotel.

      I’ve been saying for weeks, that nobody knows how this is all going to end up, the only thing I am sure of is that Trump Org will come out smelling like roses. The Democrats pushing back on the $500 billion slush fund is somewhat hopeful, but I fear they will cave in the end and Trump will find a way to line his pockets with our money yet again.

      • joejim says:

        I’d like to see a rider to the bill saying that anyone in the cabinet position or in the administration including the president must disclose taxes and investments. Nobody should be dispensing exceptional emergency trillions who isn’t out in the open. But even that would not prevent these shameless goons from bailing their donors and special interests.

        One of the smartest things I’ve read about financial stimulus is a NYT piece by Chef Jose Andres. He convincingly predicts a food crisis, and wants to mobilize restaurants and workers. He says restaurant economy is 4x larger in sales than airlines, and employs 18x the workers. Advocates WPA style program which converts restaurant kitchens across the country into food assistance banks and to employ restaurant workers to make the food, delivery/uber economy also included to get the food to people. That’s a lot of people put to work, most of whom have zero benefits and savings and a lot of people fed. He’s got a remarkably thought out pan and he’s been in the center of a number of disasters, among others Puerto Rico post hurricane, and he speaks as much to economic benefits as to the humanitarian need to feed desperate people. There are many millions of Americans who are out of food money as of today, but are not on social programs.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/opinion/restaurants-coronavirus-food-aid.html

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump complains about “how much money he’s losing” running for office and being in public service. He volunteered, he accepted the disclosure and other constraints related to holding public office, he can quit literally at any time. The.Sooner.The.Better.

    Trump can go back to making money [sic]. He can see, for example, how much his DC hotel is worth when he can’t use it to extort business. His clubs in NJ and FL would make a lot less money when the Secret Service and hangers on of the president stop spending so much at them. They’re not the only Trump “assets” that would make little money were he not grifting on the taxpayer and using the USG’s leverage to obtain corrupt income and benefits. As usual, Trump’s actions make lies of his words.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I imagine Trump is also wondering how much he can charge corporations for receiving taxpayer-funded bail-outs. He probably thinks they’re worth more than his usual piece of the action, especially if McConnell gets them without need, strings, or reporting requirements.

    • Tom says:

      Trump has been pissed for the past three plus years because he never expected or even wanted to win the 2016 election. But the Fates played a cruel trick upon him and the rest of the country by placing him in the Oval Office.

  5. Vicks says:

    Watch their hands!!!
    Enacting the Defense Production Act and then taking no action, and then justifying not doing anything by pretending its a good idea for states to drive up prices by bidding against each other is one of the most suspicious deflections I’ve seen Trump try to pull off.
    I’m trying to save my business and I only have one eye on this, but “see something say something right?”
    It is my understanding that there are all sorts of loopholes and shields included in the act for things that , under normal times would be bad behavior but acceptable in times of crises. No bids, no issues with price fixing etc.
    Is there anyway that the Trump organization could be hatching ways to exploit the perks of this act that could gained by a simple announcement?
    Is there something that isn’t written quite tight enough that a worm like Barr could interpret in a way that serves his lord and master?
    Why would Trump enact it and then sit on all the opportunities for power and glory it gives to him at face value?
    https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1583170516466-d519026f6d0fcd35b0581d9418e67bef/Defense_Production_Act_2018.pdf

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One reason would be that Trump prides himself on stage management, whereas following through is both boring and for suckers. Announcing a power and then not using it – ordinarily anathema to Trump’s greedy mind – also let’s him own the libs (“He did what they wanted!”), while not really giving them anything.

    • Rayne says:

      We are. There’s no way around that. The problem of capitalism is corruption; capitalism tends to fail society when there isn’t a level playing field, when those with more money can break the rules, when a social safety net is thwarted so that it can’t protect the vulnerable from the volatility of the market and from the corrupt before they are stymied and punished.

      • Flatulus says:

        Corruption is the problem in all economies. Me thinks it is human greed, there is never enough.

        • timbo says:

          From time to time, there are windows in which people do come together and accomplish amazing and good things. Perhaps this website here, this forum, is one of those things. Or are you arguing it ain’t?

      • P J Evans says:

        I think in previous times there was more incentive to keep the poor from dying in the streets. It was when business started being seen as a good way to riches and power, I think, that things went downhill, with the assumption that “I did it, therefore everyone else also can”, and no thought for all the others who helped, from teachers to people doing the dirty work of keeping everything else running.

        • Rayne says:

          Corruption is a problem with every economic system because they’re human constructs. But capitalism isn’t inherently bad if it’s configured in a way to address corruption.

          Our second biggest problem with capitalism is its definition; in a knowledge economy, what is the means of production?

  6. Slinger says:

    A total distortion of what Trump said and then an attack on what he said. Zero intellectual integrity in this article.

      • Geoff says:

        (shakes head) Distorted how? You mean, words have whatever meanings you want them to have, despite the character of the person speaking them? I’m so confused. Kindly fill me in.

    • Rayne says:

      Hey, Slinger, can you point to the part in this quote Trump did not say?

      We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept.

      You can’t. He said it.

      And yeah, that’s the point of the article, to take issue with Trump’s refusal to nationalize a specific emergency need for the nation’s security, while calling it a war, but holding his hand out through intermediaries to make money from non-essential businesses like golf courses and hotels.

      Nice of you to drive-by troll from Mr. Trump’s neighborhood, by the way.

      • Raven Eye says:

        The President said he invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), but then pulled back and hasn’t really used it. He has stated concerns about “Nationalizing” U.S. industry. The problem is that the DPA allows a range of options – only a liar or an ignorant person (or maybe both, in this case) would believe that DPA=Nationalization.

        Rather, Trump believes that the executives of the 56 states and state-like entities should all be scrambling around and competing with each other on the domestic and international markets for PPE, ventilators, and testing supplies.

        He should be using federal resources to quantify the needs across the country (and the resources are available to do it – right now), and then getting those numbers out to industry via quick turnaround RFIs. That could have been started a month ago.

        Industry doesn’t like uncertainty when they are sorta asked to retool and re-prioritize production and distribution. But if the federal government provides in the RFI a realistic estimates of the requirements for test kits, PPE components, and ventilators for the next 30, 90, and 180 days (with the prospect of RFPs almost immediately) they will take notice.

        Clarifying the need and establishing a market capability for the critical items is nowhere close to nationalization. I guess the problem with this potential solution is that some degree of normal a marketplace would remain, there would be contract oversight, and increased supplies would allow response agility. But it might not result in a no-strings windfall to the donor and kiss-ass class. Darn.

        • Rayne says:

          I don’t think Trump is capable of anything but the simplest, most base thinking right now. Anything that appears more complex has been coached by someone else, like producer/director to a cast member in reality TV. His only job is not to break the Trumpian-GOP’s kayfabe.

          I think the DPA wasn’t invoked because he/somebody realized that doing so opens up a can of worms. Trump org properties could just as easily be “nationalized” if this crisis continues should Congress manage to organize a veto-proof vote — and then suddenly all records to his businesses and his operations are exposed.

          The only thing he was worried about was his own ass, which is SOP for a malignant narcissist.

          • P J Evans says:

            I saw one suggestion this morning on Twitter – nationalize his properties, and Mar-al-Ego, and turn them into hospitals for COVID-19 patients. And then turn them into national cemeteries, where possible, as was done with Arlington. (More useful than tearing them down and salting the earth.)

        • timbo says:

          God. I just spent two days now on the Internet trying to dispel the garbage that DPA==socialism! So help me, there are first responders who believe this sort of nonsense. That alone boggles the mind. The idea that “free markets” are better than any other solution now runs very deep in the anti-intellectual morass we find ourselves living and dying through.

    • Duke says:

      Shiteslinger,

      Please find another way to show your devotion to your Golden Calf. For instance, there are plenty of evangelical mega churches meet ups who would be blessed by your words. Go there and together call upon healing powers of the spirit surrounding Trump and his faithful who hold his words in higher regard than even Jebus’.

      Your miraculous demonstration of true faith In Trump will convert the masses across the world. Go for it. We look forward to reading about it in 7-24 days.

  7. harpie says:

    Here’s propagandist Hugh Hewitt:
    https://twitter.com/hughhewitt/status/1242139358473355266
    1:21 PM · Mar 23, 2020

    Democrats were shut out of the process” says @ChrisMurphyCT and everyone knows it is simply not remotely true.
    @SenateDems are going to crash the market again.

    Here’s Murphy’s response:

    https://twitter.com/ChrisMurphyCT/status/1242143081354252289
    1:36 PM · Mar 23, 2020

    Why would I make that up?

    McConnell kicked Dems out of the room Sat and wrote his own bill. K Street lobbyists sent it to us Sunday morning.

    We simply don’t believe it solves the problem. It spends $2T without actually stopping the virus.
    Let’s get it right.

  8. jamie mack says:

    Over-reaction to this pandemic would have a cost measured in dollars.
    Under-reacting will have a cost measured in lives.

    Golly, it’s almost as if Trump and his party care more about dollars than lives.

    • Geoff says:

      It will also be more expensive. Because of the lack of testing, there is way more spread, and way more ultimate death. But there is also no ability now to contain, which is why we’ve had to resort to generalized shutdowns, which cost more $. This $2 trillion “stimulus” package of corporate welfare will just be the start. Lest we forget, deficits don’t matter unless the President is a Democrat. For now, they are simply a slush fund for re-election.

    • RobertJ says:

      I suspect that there is an implicit assumption that it will be other peoples lives at risk.

      When scenarios involving large numbers of deaths come up, I’m inclined to think of the statement attributed to Stalin: “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

      • Ollie says:

        Yeah say there’s a Lt. Gov of Texas that says his grandparents want to donate their lives to restart the economy. We’ve stooped to sacrifices like in Cabin in the Woods. OMG! I could just see trump doing signore weavers role in that movie. HAHAHAHAHA Okay. Now I can go to bed. ty

    • vicks says:

      I’m not sure that what is going could be considered a reaction/over-reaction at all.
      Everything that is being done (by reasonable people) is either to prepare for, or minimize the damage of the next stage of this thing.
      Better late than never i guess.
      Pandemics and data and national security are over my head, but if we have experts that knew this was a real threat, how is making sure this country is prepared any different that having a military trained, staffed, stocked and ready to defend?
      How can we not even have a fucking plan?
      What else is being ignored by this made-for-TV president and his organization because it was cut from the script?

    • timbo says:

      Traditionally, in human societies, overreaction also cost lives when it comes to pandemics. Never forget that. Your local demagogue won’t. :(

  9. Fran of the North says:

    Which part of ‘Only the little people have to sacrifice!’ do you not understand?

    Remember when Trump speculated that he might have been a responder that charged the school during a live shooter event? Now we see not-so-much. He’d hide behind the first defenseless grandmother he found. Same way he’s trying to shelter his ill-gotten fortune behind the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of other commoners.

    • cat herder says:

      Monty Python – “How To Do It” (sadly, looks like all copies have been nuked from youtube)

      ALAN: “…but first, here’s Jackie to tell you all how to rid the world of all known diseases.”

      JACKIE: “Well, first of all become a doctor and discover a marvelous cure for something and then when the medical profession really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there’ll never be any diseases ever again.”

      ALAN: “Thanks, Jackie! Great idea.”

    • MissingGeorgeCarlin says:

      Not only did DJT claim he would have entered the school in FL during the shooting….he said he would have gone in even if he wasn’t armed. Insulting gaslighting stupidity is all that falls from his lips.

    • Rayne says:

      BWA-hahahahahah!!! I had to go look because I didn’t recall seeing which photo Marcy used for her magazine slot with this post.

      If only his aperture was as small as the one in the photo you shared.

  10. Hoposter says:

    I think Marcy needs to take a break. Some of her writings lately are getting a little convoluted and a bit far-fetched.

    Such is the impact a crazy man in the White House has on us. Even the best can succumb.

    [Please use the same username each time you comment; this is your second user name. Use of multiple usernames constitutes sockpuppeting. It’s especially frowned upon when commenters are from outside the U.S. /~Rayne]

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there. I’d suggest that maybe what is written on this blog is not so much “convoluted” but hard for those on the frothy right, which you have previously admitted you come straight out of, to fully comprehend.

      Also, too, Lazlow K. Hud, why are you suddenly using a second screen name to troll here with? You only get one name Mr. Hud. Hope that is not too convoluted for you.

  11. Rugger9 says:

    Good grief, he’s telling us peasants to get back to work to save the stock market.

    However, I don’t think his tweets will overrule Governor Newsom’s order.

    Meanwhile, TX is banning all abortions (except medically necessary ones, i.e. to save the life of the mother) to free up hospital beds not normally needed for abortion patients (unless of course it’s a botched back-alley one). The GOP can’t let a crisis go un-leveraged for their social engineering.

    • Rayne says:

      Ohio did the same with abortions. What a pity abortion clinics aren’t the same places one seeks emergency care for COVID-19, must have been a misunderstanding. ~eye roll~ And now you now why DeWine jumped on shutting down Ohio ahead of neighboring, more populous Michigan.

  12. Tom says:

    For Trump to say he’s considering relaxing pandemic restrictions in certain parts of the country sounds a little like telling people it will be okay to pee in their own particular corner of the swimming pool because it won’t bother anyone else.

  13. Tom says:

    Hard to get my mind around the concept of “the cure being worse than the problem” when the problem is possible death.

        • timbo says:

          Or maybe it was the Russian hotel room “liquidity crisis”. I mean, who can tell at this point in the number of possible blackmails Donny and Co might be subjected to, right?

  14. Rugger9 says:

    Did anyone else see the presser where OH Lt Gov John Husted said that the US Department of Labor had asked him not to release the unemployment numbers so he was going to comply with the request. Also, something about problems with the OH unemployment website, I’m sure it was coincidental…

    Husted’s GOP, after all, and those with long memories will recall that Husted was OH’s Secretary of State (in charge of elections) when Obama was re-elected in 2012 after Husted was caught doing a last-minute “patch” to prevent hacking that was itself hacked by Anonymous and stopped (allegedly). That was the night that Karl Rove melted down when OH was called for Obama since (it would seem) he had put the fix in.

    • BobCon says:

      The Gabriel Sherman article in Vanity Fair linked in the Kos piece repeats what other reporters have said.

      Kushner is basically just calling around to whatever sympathetic hacks he can reach who are telling him everything will be OK.

      There is no process, there is no deep thinking, it’s all dumb Silicon Valley contrarians trying to make a case in a ten minute phone call that up is down based on something they read on Reddit about the plague in the 14th Century.

      It’s astounding that yet again the Senate GOP comes down on the side of this stuff instead of listening to those governors of their own party who happen to be competent.

    • P J Evans says:

      Why are we supposed to bail out corporations that aren’t paying taxes in the US and are paying their executives millions in bonuses?

      • Rugger9 says:

        I liked the idea where the bailout would be capped at the level of taxes paid in the last year.

        Some of the 1040-related forms / schedules have that kind of restriction so it’s kind of karmic this time of year.

  15. misteranderson says:

    Does anyone know what stock Trump owns? Does anyone know how to determine if he sold stock? Is there an enterprising reporter out there who’s researching this?

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Trump Inc., is a privately held company, so there’s no way to really know what holdings they actually have unless and until it becomes a matter of public record. As to enterprising reporters (I assume the pun was intended), you might try taking a look at ProPublica, which has a long-running series on Trump’s businesses.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes. Also David Fahrenthold at the Washington Post has been superb. But JPJ is right, it is so opaque, pretty clearly no one knows for sure.

        • P J Evans says:

          Layers upon layers of holding companies, most of which seem to have 2% of this and 5% of that, so it would require a large team of forensic accountants to find out who actually owns what.

          • bmaz says:

            That is sometimes true. In smaller cases, it is often just some mope who clumsily tried to hide things. They quite often screw it up though. They don’t keep corp minutes appropriately, don’t keep up with regulatory filings and/or most damning, commingle financial things.

            In the far bigger and more complicated cases, you need a top notch forensic analyst to sort it out. They can often do so, but cost a fortune. Governments have those resources, whether state in NY or Federal under some future President. It “may” get done some day, but not today.

  16. misteranderson says:

    Thanks for the response. I’ll poke around on the Google. I just didn’t know how to think about this. I wish someone would ask him point blank about his stocks & whether he sold any, for the record.

  17. punaise says:

    This (at TPM) is depressing because it will probably play out like this:

    Trump’s plan going forward is clear. He will call for a return to “normal activity” by the end of the month, claiming he has evidence that the epidemic is slowing and the economic consequences are too great. Overwhelmed hospitals and increasing deaths in big cities will be written off as evidence that their (Democratic) mayors and governors are incompetent. If and when the epidemic spreads to Trump country, he and his minions will blame areas which suffered earlier (which, again, are conveniently all blue states) for not doing enough to stop the spread, with some way found to blame immigrants as well. And of course, all of the health care system problems that this epidemic is exposing will be ascribed to Obamacare.

    • Rayne says:

      At least we know what the message is going to be. Now Democrats need to skate to where the puck’s going to be, not to where it’s been, and get inside the OODA loop.

      I shudder thinking of the lives which will be damaged or lost before the end of the month when Team Asshat declares victory.

  18. Vicks says:

    The mayor of Denver decided that liquor and pot stores would be shut down tomorrow at 5PM along with other non-essential businesses.
    Any bets on what happened next?
    Remember the recent shot of the crowds at O’Hare airport? Take that and add real panic.
    It only took three hours to reverse. .
    On a winning note, today Colorado was the 23rd state to abolish the death penalty. Two inmates sentences were commuted to life (in prison) by the governor.

    • MB says:

      San Francisco Bay Area counties and city of L.A. decided that dispensaries were “essential” businesses right up front. Don’t know whether that means people can walk in or whether they only do deliveries now, like restaurants. Other “non-essential” business, like large nurseries have gotten in on the game now, offering “pick-up” and/or free delivery of garden supplies. Otherwise, how would home farmers who are legally allowed to grow 6 plants in their backyards get the necessary allotments of soil, containers, nutrients etc. for this year’s crop?

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