Despite What His Campaign Says, Donald Trump Supported The Bank Bailout

It's a small matter. But it gets at a bigger point.
Kellyanne Conway said Donald Trump opposed the bank bailout. He supported it.
Kellyanne Conway said Donald Trump opposed the bank bailout. He supported it.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was asked to name a single policy her candidate would pursue over the opposition of executives at the firm Goldman Sachs.

The gist was to call into question the closing argument the Trump camp has made: Mainly, that he is a menace to the global elite and, in particular, the well-heeled financial interests of the country.

Conway noted that Trump is critical of trade deals that banks like Goldman Sachs ostensibly support. But then she added a twist. Trump, she proclaimed, opposed the 2008 bank bailout, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“I think more to the point, when you go back and look at TARP, which we got from a Republican president and continued by a Democratic president, Donald Trump would not be for that. And that benefits all these big banks who didn’t need the help. in some cases were forced to take the money,” she told host Jake Tapper.

This is not true. In fact, Trump is on record backing TARP at the time it was being considered. It wasn’t full-throated. But it was supportive. Here is his statement from a Sept. 30, 2008, interview with CNN:

“Nobody really knows what impact it’s going to have. Maybe it works, and maybe it doesn’t. But certainly it is worth a shot. I don’t love the idea that the government’s buying back all the bad loans. How about some of the good loans? You know? I don’t like the idea that the government, frankly, is going to be negotiating with people to sell those loans, because maybe we’d be better off having the best bankers in the world do that.

“But I think overall, it’s a probable positive, other than you have to control the price of oil. Because if you don’t, whatever happens with the bailout, if you want to call it the bailout, whatever happens with the bailout, is will have no impact, no positive impact.”

One month after President Barack Obama took office, Trump was more effusive in praising TARP.

“The one thing is, the government came in and intelligently put money into the banks, so that if you have your money in CDs or whatever in the banks, you’re not going to lose your money at least,” he said.

And then, months later, he went even further, suggesting that bank nationalization may be a good option.

“I do agree with what they’re doing with the banks. Whether they fund them or nationalize them, it doesn’t matter, but you have to keep the banks going,” Trump said.

Now, Goldman Sachs would not have supported bank nationalization. And it’s unclear if Trump was just riffing there or really expressing a preference for the government seizing ownership. What is clear, regardless, is that he went from being softly supportive of the TARP to openly complimentary. Conway’s insistence otherwise is bunk.

Of course, no one is going to blink twice over the Trump campaign being misleading about his position on TARP. Lies far bigger than this have been told, by both campaigns. But this nugget is illustrative of a larger trend that has defined the GOP nominee. On matters big and small, he has projected and lived in a post-truth world. And just two days before the election ends, he’s not about to stop.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.