Trump says poor people shouldn’t be involved in economic policy

“In those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person.”

CREDIT: C-SPAN2/Screenshot
CREDIT: C-SPAN2/Screenshot

The next presidential election is more than 3 years away, but President Trump is back on the stump in Iowa. During the campaign-style rally on Wednesday, Trump defended his decision to install millionaires and billionaires in all his top economic positions. “[T]hat’s the kind of thinking we want,” Trump argued.

“They’re representing the country,” he insisted. “They don’t want the money. They’re representing the country.”

Speaking of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, Trump explained that these men “had to give up a lot to take these jobs.” Cohn, in particular, “went from massive paydays to peanuts.”

“These are people that are great, brilliant business minds, and that’s what we need. That’s what we have to have so the world doesn’t take advantage [of us]. We can’t have the world taking advantage of us anymore.”

Trump clarified, “And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that makes sense? Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it, but I like it better this way, right?”

Trump claimed that Cohn had to pay $200 million in taxes to take his job in the administration. This is false, as MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle pointed out Thursday morning.

Indeed, Cohn received a massive payout when he sold his shares of Goldman Sachs, which were worth about $210 million. As long as he reinvested that money in government securities or government-approved mutual funds, he could defer paying any capital-gains tax on it.

And while Trump may claim that members of his administration aren’t there for the money, every major policy the Trump White House has proposed would massively benefit the rich and add to the burdens of the poor. For example, every version of Trumpcare, including what Republican Senators have been secretly working on, would cut Medicaid — making it harder for poor people to access health care — and provide massive tax cuts for the rich.

Likewise, Trump’s proposed budget would have cut many essential benefit programs for low-income families, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), not to mention the subsidized student loan program, Social Security Disability Insurance, and veterans’ benefits.