Trump and the art of the no deal

Touting his “extraordinary” ability to negotiate, but so far, Trump has shown he can’t make a deal.

SOURCERobert Reich

Donald Trump promised to be America’s dealmaker-in-chief, touting his “extraordinary” ability to negotiate. But so far, Trump has shown he can’t make a deal. Here’s the list of biggest no-deals:

1. No deal with North Korea. Following his summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump declared on Twitter that “there is no longer a nuclear threat” from North Korea. But in fact, there’s no deal. Kim conceded nothing on weapons and missile programs. Recent satellite imagery shows North Korea is actually improving its nuclear capability.

2. No deal with Russia. At the Helsinki summit, Russia agreed to nothing. But Trump gave away the store, even casting doubt on Russia’s collusion in the 2016 election in the face of the conclusions of America’s own intelligence agencies.

3. No deal with China on trade. Instead, we’re on the brink of a trade war with China, which is retaliating against U.S. tariffs.

4. No deal with Europe on trade. Instead, Europe has merely agreed to negotiate towards a resolution of the trade war Trump provoked in the first place.

5. No deal on Iran. Trump announced America’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal. Since then, no negotiations.

6. No deal on climate change. Trump simply pulled out of the Paris accords. There have been no negotiations since.

7. No deal with the Group of 7 leading economic powers. Instead, Trump just pulled out of the joint communique.

8. No deal on immigration or the DREAMers. Trump promised a new immigration bill, and a new deal from the young people brought to America as children. But since then, nothing.

9. No budget deal with Congress. The government is still operating under a “continuing resolution.”

10. No deal on replacing the Affordable Care Act. Trump promised to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. But there’s been no repeal, and no replacement. He and the Republican Congress never agreed to a new plan.

11. No deal on gun control. After the Parkland shooting, Trump promised to tighten background checks for gun buyers and said he’d consider raising the age for buying certain types of guns. Instead, he bowed to the NRA.

Bottom line: Trump can’t make deals. He can only pull out of deals already made, or pretend he’s made deals that soon evaporate, or give away the store.

He’s perfected the art of the no deal.


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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-founder of the nonprofit Inequality Media and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.