It has been apparent from the beginning that Donald Trump’s only interest in the possibility of a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is how it affects the stock market. He publicly ignored it until the point where the stock market became involved. Now that the markets are cratering, he and his team of thing-sayers have things to say, all of them centered on the notion that as far as the markets ought to be concerned everything is fine.
Trump himself, however, continues to abide by the main rule of narcissistic personalities: Everything that is good is happening because of me. Everything that is bad is happening because somebody opposes me. In Donald Trump’s estimation the stock markets are not falling because of rapidly expanding economic disruptions caused by the spreading illness and worldwide attempts to stop it, but because Bernie Sanders is running for president and the markets believe he has “a real chance” of winning it.
It should not be surprising, though, to note that even this appears to be something Donald Trump cribbed from (sigh) watching Fox News.
Fox Business “News” host Charles Payne was on this kick yesterday, on Fox News’ American Newsroom. It is “the Bernie factor finally rearing its head” that is helping to drive stocks down, the Important Business Analyst said, not concerns over the economic fallout of large portions of the markets grinding to a halt or, potentially, millions of worldwide deaths. His evidence: a list of important healthcare stocks are down.
Could this be because the healthcare industry may be absolutely devastated by a pandemic that far outstrips their expectations or abilities to moderate? Nonsense. It is Actually because the world markets are very worried that the United States might inch slightly forward towards the same healthcare systems most of those nations already have. It is because you want nice things, America, not the worldwide shuttering of large public events or the real potential for deadly worldwide pandemic.
Fox Business host Charles Payne blames much of today's Dow plunge on Bernie Sanders' Nevada win:
"The Bernie factor is finally rearing its head in the stock market…there's absolutely no doubt." pic.twitter.com/20041Y0oHE
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 24, 2020
The odds that Trump’s staff clipped out that segment for Trump’s daily required praise-me sessions are 120%, give or take a nickel.
This is one of those points where the Team Trump insistence on ignoring reality while substituting in new versions that they like better may not end up going so well. The always catastrophically wrong White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow took to business network CNBC to also insist that the markets have nothing to worry about, which should be very, very alarming to anyone with even a passing awareness of Kudlow’s record on these things.
Giving a very different message, however, a CDC official is now warning the public to “prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” saying it was only a question of “when” the virus would spread in the United States.
Trump, meanwhile? He appears to be under the impression that a vaccine for the disease is “very close”—an assertion that caused his own White House to claim “he was talking about the Ebola vaccine.” He plainly was not; the White House is lying.
So there you have it. According to Trump’s brain, directly connected to his television set, the stock market is reacting to Bernie Sanders, not worldwide pandemic, and a vaccine is close to release, and all of this is under control. In the swamp surrounding him, however, none of his advisers seem to be remotely on the same page, or coordinating with each other, or aware of the most basic necessary data, or sure what the flying hell the boss is going on about.
Feel better yet? No? Don’t worry, I’m sure the stock market, the only part of this that Donald Trump gives a damn about, will reward Trump’s bold, thing-knowing leadership. Sure, he’s going to kill us all via incompetence, but I have faith the stock market will pull through.