Trump Attacks ‘Internationalists’ in a Pitch to Fellow 1 Percenters

Laveta Brigham

President Donald Trump criticized the “internationalists,” lobbyists, drug industry executives, and Democrats in his online audience today as he addressed the well-to-do members of economic clubs in a speech from the White House. He expressed confidence about winning reelection and addressing the groups again next year, but added: “If I don’t win […]

President Donald Trump criticized the “internationalists,” lobbyists, drug industry executives, and Democrats in his online audience today as he addressed the well-to-do members of economic clubs in a speech from the White House. He expressed confidence about winning reelection and addressing the groups again next year, but added: “If I don’t win the election, you probably won’t want me.”

Members of the economic clubs tend to be prosperous businesspeople, rather than academic economists, but the tone of Trump’s remarks conveyed that he didn’t think he had their unanimous support. Speaking to backers of the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump said that if Biden wins, “You will see some things that will not make you happy. I don’t understand your thinking.” He added: “I assume it’s habit,” and “Keep backing them, but you know it’s wrong.”

Trump bragged about the performance of the U.S. economy before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and promised that, if reelected, he will continue to cut taxes and regulation. But he interspersed his stump speech with digs at people he presumed were in the audience, such as “internationalists,” who he said probably oppose his tariffs on China, and those who dislike his executive orders that would require pharmaceutical companies to charge Americans the same prices they charge abroad. “Those of you who are in the drug industry—you’re not fans of Donald Trump, I’ll tell you,” he said.

Trump took questions from the presidents of the economic clubs of Florida and Washington, D.C., at the end. In a departure from his sometimes aggrieved tone, Trump praised private equity billionaire David Rubenstein, the head of the Washington club, who spent $10 million of his own money restoring the Washington Monument. Other economic clubs on the video call were those of New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Sheboygan, Wis. 

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