Trump's frantic conspiracy mongering is a distraction from looming recession: columnist
(AFP / Nicholas Kamm)

Economists have grown concerned that President Donald Trump's trade wars with China will trigger a recession.

Writing in the Washington Post, columnist Greg Sargent points out that Trump is scared about the economy -- so he's resorting to lies and spreading conspiracy theories as a distraction.

"As President Trump prepares to run for reelection on the claim that his populist nationalist agenda has been a smashing success, it’s awfully telling that Trump and his advisers have now launched a frantic, multi-front effort to deny glaring truths about that agenda that are all right there in plain sight, for all of us to see," Sargent writes.

"Trump is increasingly explaining away warning signs of a potential recession by resorting to lurid conspiracy theories."

Sargent points out that Trump's attacks on the Fed point to his increasing desperation. Then there's his usual strategy of blaming everything on the media. "Trump claims the Federal Reserve is working against him. He also says the “Fake News Media” is fabricating recession fears — and exaggerating the damage of Trump’s trade war with China, a key driver of those fears — to cloud his reelection chances."

One of the ways Trump is trying to obfuscate the failure of his economic program is by boasting about the wealthy American consumer, even though his tax cuts primarily benefited the rich.

"It’s certainly possible that this story might work among just enough Rust Belt voters to drive an electoral college win amid an even bigger popular-vote loss this time," Sargent notes. "But it’s clear that Trump himself fears his story is at serious risk of failing him."