Following Donald Trump’s disturbing and nonsensical speech to the nation on Wednesday evening, stock futures flipped from positive to negative territory on exchanges worldwide. And by the time the White House completed shooting multiple holes in Trump’s “travel ban,” making it absolutely clear that the policy was anything but clear, the futures markets were already down so far that it was obvious that if things didn’t change, trading would halt on Thursday morning almost as soon as it began. Nothing changed. Trading halted with markets down another 7.2% at 21,857. What officially became a “bear market” on Wednesday is now even more bearish.
The system of “circuit breakers” built into the stock market trading mechanism is intended to arrest major slides and give traders time to think about what’s happening. In the 23 years since the system was created following a stock market crash in 1987, it had rarely been used … until now. In just the last week, the circuit breakers have been hit twice. And as the market stands on Thursday morning, it’s within 2,000 points of surrendering all of the gains made since Trump took office.
Despite the fact that the stock market went far higher in Barack Obama’s first three years in office than it has been under Trump, every inch gained on the Dow has been celebrated by Trump. Just three weeks ago, on Feb. 19, Trump tweeted, “Highest Stock Market In History, By Far!” Even a week later, Trump was encouraging people to invest in a stock market that was “looking very good to me!”
These are just two of the 157 times Trump has tweeted about the stock market since taking office. But just three weeks into Trump’s attempt to handle a genuine national crisis, the stock market has fallen from 29,551 on Feb. 12 to 21,857 when the stops were hit a month later. That fall of almost 7,700 points puts the market just 2,000 above the 19,805 value it stood at on the day Trump took office.
At the moment, the stock market has gained just 9% in over three years—an annual return of less than 3%, and a drop unmatched since the 2008 market crisis. If the market falls as much on the remainder of Thursday as it had already dropped on Thursday morning, it will completely erase all gains made since Trump was inaugurated.
The stock market is not the economy. The Dow Jones isn’t even all of the stock market. But Trump has set such incredible store by this single value that it’s amazing how little he understands it.
Oh, and it runs in the family.
In my opinion, it’s a great time to buy stocks or into your 401K. I would be all in… let’s see if I’m right…
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) February 28, 2020
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.