One of the most oft-repeated refrains of the 2016 presidential campaign was that Donald Trump was a successful businessman. Whenever pressed for specifics on why they would vote for a man with a history of sexual assault, ungainly ties to foreign nations, and an inability to tell the truth, Trump supporters fell back on the refrain that Donald Trump’s business savvy would be able to fix pressing issues of economy, debt, and deficit.
Many times over, others have noted that this is not true, including the New York Times. In one article, they detail how Trump used complex tax law to avoid paying his own taxes, and being given tax breaks for losing other people’s money.
However, the mythos lives on, and appears to have burrowed itself right within Trump’s brain. In a press conference with Angela Merkel, current Chancellor of Germany, Donald Trump slipped while speaking of America, and referred to it as a “company,” rather than a country. His remarks were, according to the Huffington Post:
“‘The United States has been treated very, very unfairly by many countries over the years and that’s going to stop.’ He then went on: ‘We’re a very powerful company — country,’ catching his mistake.”
This gaffe raised eyebrows for two important reasons.
1) Trump repeatedly makes appeals to his base, based on this mythology of himself as a successful businessman. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, in an article on his website, wrote that if Donald Trump had simply taken his fortune, put it in an index fund, and done nothing, he’d have more money than he does today.
Referring to America as a “company” under the purview of Trump could only mean that America will only be as successful as his handful of casinos, his vodka, his university, his airline, his water, his magazine, or his steaks – all failed ventures.
2) If America is a company run by Donald Trump, then we have keen insight into how he sees the structure of American politics.
Donald Trump views America as a company, which means that he is the boss and we are all his subordinates. In actuality, presidents are supposed to be accountable to their people, which is the exact opposite dynamic. Gaffes like this further underscore that Donald Trump believes himself to be the ruler of America, rather than a dedicated civil servant, and intends to use it as a business, something for profit, at whoever’s expense is necessary.
Watch this gaffe below:
In which Trump says "company" instead of "country" pic.twitter.com/7Ilsqw3iV9
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) March 17, 2017