All signs point to Donald Trump becoming a jawboning president without equal in American history. That is, jawboning by exerting rhetorical bombast focused on people, corporations and institutions, with massive media propulsion behind the very personal presidency he will establish. It will be a natural daily extension of his boundless, easily bruisable ego.
Trump has embraced these tactics as both a candidate and president-elect. He went after Carrier Corp. (a subsidiary of United Technologies) and Ford Motor Co. for shipping jobs to Mexico, after Boeing for charging too much for the new Air Force One and after Lockheed/Martin for over-pricing its F-35 fighter planes.
Previous presidents, knowing they have the “bully pulpit,” have generally been averse to the sort of jawboning that singles out specific firms and persons. President Harry Truman did take on a newspaper columnist who criticized his daughter, Margaret’s, singing skills. President John F. Kennedy went after U.S. Steel and referred to price hikes from the industry as “a wholly unjustifiable and irresponsible defiance of the public interest.”