Both Sides Now
President Trump is meeting at the White House on Friday with the top executives of some of the largest U.S. oil companies to discuss ways his administration might support the oil and gas industry amid an oil crash. On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he had spoken with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia — whose price war combined with a sharp drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic to tank oil prices — and expected them to cut production, which "will be GREAT for the oil and gas industry!" Indeed, oil prices shot up after Trump's tweet and continued rising early Friday.
But higher oil prices mean higher gas prices for consumers, as CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart noted.
Trump embraced that tension at Wednesday's coronavirus press briefing: "Now, gasoline's gonna be 99 cents a gallon and less, you know that. That's already starting, it's popping up — 99 cents. So that's like giving a massive tax cut to people of our country." He also mentioned, "I'm going to meet with the oil companies on Friday," and said, "We don't want to lose our great oil companies."
On Tuesday, Trump told the White House press corps that he'll join Russia and the Saudis "at the appropriate time if need be" to work on helping end their price war, explaining, "it's hurtful to one of our biggest industries, the oil industry." In mid-March, meanwhile, Trump said he "would have dreamed about" oil prices this low, adding: "With gasoline prices coming down, that's like a tax cut. Frankly, that's like a big tax cut, not a little tax cut, for the consumer." Tax cuts, it appears, don't solve everything.