David Brooks on Trump: 'There Are a Lot of Things I Like That He’s Done and the Economy Has Not Tanked'
ARLINGTON, Va. – New York Times columnist David Brooks said President Trump’s support “has not waned at all” and that he likes “a lot of things” the president has done so far in office.
Brooks, who called for Republicans to reject Trump during the 2016 presidential election, was asked if he approves or disapproves of Trump’s job performance.
“As for Trump approval, I have to say a number of things. One, I think it’s appalling. As a cultural determinist, I pay a lot of attention to norms and social fabric and I think he’s pretty good at making friend-enemy distinctions and poking a red-hot wound into every divide we have in this country and making it worse, and so I place a high value on social norms and cultures,” Brooks said in response to a question from PJM during a Conversations with Tyler event at George Mason University on Monday evening.
“I have to say, for my friends who are Trump supporters, they say, ‘I don’t really pay attention to that stuff. I just look at the economy. I look at some of the things I like that he’s done.’ And there are a lot of things I like that he’s done and the economy has not tanked,” he added. “And I expected his support to wane as the scandals mounted, and it has not waned at all.”
Brooks applauded Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I think that was the right move. I mean, Jerusalem is clearly the capital of Israel so we should recognize reality,” Brooks said.
The columnist explained that he was against the Republican tax reform plan that Trump signed into law, but said the corporate tax cut, which was part of the overall package, has had beneficial effects on the economy.
“I was against it because it seemed to me not the tax reform I always dreamed of and it seemed to me a way to basically take money out of blue pockets and put it into red pockets, and I didn’t want to see our tax system turned into a tribal weapon and I didn’t think corporate tax cuts were the way to increase growth,” he said.
Brooks mentioned a Bloomberg report that suggested capital expenditures had risen since passage of the tax reform package.
“The story in Bloomberg that suggested that since the corporate tax cuts that capital expenditures had risen 37 percent and stock buybacks have only risen 16 percent, which suggests that the corporate rate cuts are producing more economic activities than a lot of economists had suggested they would,” he said. “So I’m open to the fact that a lot of Trump policies may have surprisingly beneficial effects, but it will be very hard to persuade me that they are going enough to justify the harm he’s doing to our democracy.”