Former Trump officials reportedly say his erratic behavior and recent outbursts are linked to fears that a recession could sink his reelection campaign

President Trump

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Donald J. Trump stops to talk to reporters and members of the media as he departs on the South Lawn at the White House on Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019 in Washington, DC.

  • Former Trump administration officials have expressed concern about US President Trump's recent behavior, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
  • On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump shared messages from a conspiracy theorist claiming that Israeli Jews regarded him as the "second coming" of God. 
  • On the same day, Trump insulted Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen as "nasty" after she rebuffed his offer to buy Greenland, describing it as "absurd."
  • Former officials who spoke to the New York Times suggested that the president's increasingly erratic behavior may be linked to private worries about the prospect of a recession in the US torpedoing his chances of reelection in 2020.
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Former Trump administration officials are concerned about the president's behavior in recent days, claiming that his increasingly erratic outbursts are linked to private worries that recession in the US could torpedo his chances of reelection in 2020, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

In recent weeks Trump has generated almost daily controversies, several of which came to a head this week.Advertisement

Here's a snapshot of the president's comments so far this week:

  • On Wednesday, Trump described Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen as "nasty," having previously cancelled a summit with her after she dismissed his proposal to buy Greenland as "absurd." Trump later attacked Denmark, a NATO ally, on Twitter for what he claimed was its low contribution to the alliance's budget. 
  • Earlier Wednesday, Trump quoted a right-wing conspiracy theorist who claimed that Israeli Jews saw him as the "second coming" and the "King of Israel. " In remarks to reporters at the White House later in the day, Trump described himself as the "chosen one" in the trade war against China.
  • On Tuesday, Trump had provoked accusations of anti-Semitism when he questioned the loyalty of Jews who voted for the Democrats. He doubled down on the view in remarks to reporters Wednesday.
These outbursts, the unnamed officials who spoke to the Times said, are likely linked to fears from Trump that the US economy is weakening, and may slip into recession in 2020, which could in turn damage his chances of reelection.

Read more: Trump appeared to misunderstand the definition of a recession while arguing that the US having one is a price worth paying

According to several reports in recent days, economic data that indicates that a recession may be looming has rattled Trump - who has based his case for reelection on the strong performance of the US economy during his presidency. Advertisement

On Tuesday, Trump told reporters that the US economy was strong and recession is not on the horizon, but he has privately expressed worries about the threat of a recession, according to the Washington Post.

Trump Xi


US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping leave a business leaders event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.

Despite publicly saying that a recession is not looming, Trump claimed on Tuesday that an economic downturn would be a price worth paying for winning his trade war with China.Advertisement

Read more: Trump is anxious a recession could tank his reelection chances, but officials aren't openly bracing for one because they're worried about fueling the fire

While former staffer say Trump's behavior is linked to stress about a coming recession, some analysts believe the president has in recent days been acting in accordance with his long-established playbook of fostering conflict with institutions he has portrayed as controlled by elites exploiting the American people - such as the Democratic party or NATO.