Woodward Tells Us Something We Already Know About Trump

Today’s Agenda

Woodward Tells Us Something We Already Know About Trump

Trump’s House Is a Very, Very, Very Dysfunctional House

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- One or two more explosive books about the White House, and you might have to start thinking President Donald Trump does not have a firm grip on his office.

Actually, Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Fear,” paints a portrait of our 45th president that should be familiar to all by now, writes Tim O’Brien: Trump is neither a good nor a loyal boss, and his employees seem not even to consider him a fully functioning adult. “[T]he broader picture of life inside the Trump White House corresponds very closely to life inside the Trump Organization over the last few decades and life inside the Trump presidential campaign just two and three years ago,” Tim writes. The unified theory of Donald Trump, explaining his behavior in all settings, is that Donald Trump has no other loyalty or cause than Donald Trump, Tim writes. Read the whole thing.

One example of Trump’s poor personnel management is his repeated ritual humiliation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to Woodward, Trump has called Sessions “mentally retarded” and a “dumb southerner,” and he tweets insults at him constantly. This is weird for a number of reasons, notes Ramesh Ponnuru, but mainly because Trump has the power to fire Sessions any time he wants. In fact, Sessions and Trump are simpatico when it comes to policy, and Sessions has a better handle on his department than Trump does on his White House, Ponnuru writes. Trump’s constant abuse is less a reflection of Sessions’s problems than it is of Trump’s weakness. Read the whole thing.

Bonus Trump reading: The Mueller probe may be about to take a 60-day hiatus, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. – Noah Feldman

The Real Problem With Tech

Executives from Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. trudged up to Capitol Hill today to be yelled at by congresspersons about the many ways their products may or may not be harming the republic. Right-wing critics accuse them of anti-conservative bias. Others accuse them of fostering the right-wing outrage that drove Trump’s election.

But the real problem with these social media giants may not be their biases against right or left but against humanity itself: They’re not only making us stupider, but also angrier and more divided, writes Mark Buchanan. There is research to back this up. The problem is that the algorithms designed to boost our engagement realize that most humans are most engaged when they are in a murderous rage. Read the whole thing.

Don’t Give Up on North Korea

Roughly one million years ago – or on June 13 – Trump flew back from meeting Kim Jong Un in Singapore and declared there was “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” That was a smidgen premature. The “denuclearization deal,” as Trump called it, has resulted mainly in more nuclearization. And now Trump has told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to not even bother going on his next planned trip to North Korea. But these talks are  far too important to abandon, Bloomberg’s editors warn. The key is to keep working in concert with China and South Korea – easier said than done, maybe. Read the whole thing

Emerging Market Crisis Watch

The selloff in emerging-market stocks, currencies and bonds, the longest since 2008, continued today. And there’s no reason to expect it to let up any time soon, warns Shuli Ren. That’s because some of its biggest drivers – including Fed rate hikes and a China slowdown – still have plenty of fuel to burn. One big question for American investors is whether the pain is spreading to their markets. Robert Burgess scans the dashboard and sees no sign of widespread contagion yet – though everybody sure is using that “c” word a lot. 

The GOP’s Latest Clumsy Stab at Obamacare

You could be forgiven for thinking the late Senator John McCain had saved Obamacare forever with his dramatic thumbs-down vote against repeal last year. But far less dramatically, the Trump administration and other Republicans have been swinging away at the Affordable Care Act piñata ever since. Their latest effort, a lawsuit led by state attorneys general, is one of their weakest attacks yet, writes Max Nisen. And in fact it could backfire, if Democrats are smart enough to use it to drive voters to the polls in November; a blue wave would protect the law in Congress and even bulk it up at the state level.

Chart Attack

Germans are right to worry about a 1930s repeat; the latest rise of Germany’s far right echoes the rise of the Nazis, writes Leonid Bershidsky.

Woodward Tells Us Something We Already Know About Trump

Automakers just reported another month of bad U.S. sales. And their troubles are only beginning, warns Anjani Trivedi.

Woodward Tells Us Something We Already Know About Trump

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. could be the next coffee-slinger to get bought. Tara Lachapelle considers some of the pros and cons, including its rapidly rising price:

Woodward Tells Us Something We Already Know About Trump

Quick Hits

The argument against making Amazon and Walmart pay to cover their employees’ public welfare. – Michael Strain

Millennials are understandably gun-shy about investing in stocks, but they could be setting themselves up for a retirement crisis decades from now. – Barry Ritholtz 

Dumb politics cost Brazil its national museum. – Mac Margolis

Trump is justified in cutting off aid to Pakistan, but it won’t make that country’s government any more cooperative. – Hal Brands 

Italy’s bond market is suddenly on the mend. Don’t be fooled into thinking its crisis is over. – Marcus Ashworth

Vladimir Putin’s GRU spy agency is hurting him by being a little too swashbuckling/incompetent. – Leonid Bershidsky 


Germany and the U.K. may be closer to a Brexit deal. A bunch of people got sick on a plane from Dubai to JFK. Tesla’s still having trouble. Welcome to #theresistance … senior Trump administration official.


Why does the school day end two hours before the work day?

The argument for letting bosses read all their employees’ emails.

Nap rooms? Ping-pong tables? What workers really want is natural light.

Science has come up with some new ways to make tough decisions.

Brazil’s Spix’s macaw, the avian star of the cartoon “Rio,” is one of eight new confirmed bird extinctions.

Pro football is still America’s favorite sport, but for how much longer?

Relax, everybody: The super-rich have a doomsday escape plan.

Note: Please send doomsday escape plans, suggestions and kicker ideas to Mark Gongloff at mgongloff1@bloomberg.net.


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Mark Gongloff is an editor with Bloomberg Opinion. He previously was a managing editor of Fortune.com, ran the Huffington Post's business and technology coverage, and was a columnist, reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal.

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