President Trump’s Wednesday coronavirus press conference did nothing to comfort Wall Street, and in fact seems to have spooked it as stocks “head for worst week since financial crisis,” CNN Business reported Thursday morning.
“US stocks fell into correction territory on Thursday as a weeklong selloff continued because of the coronavirus outbreak. All three major US indexes are now on track for their worst week since the financial crisis.”
Stocks reacting negatively to the scare of a pandemics is normal, but no one in their right mind can sell the President’s press conference yesterday as even remotely comforting.
Trump could barely articulate words, and seemed to not even be paying attention. He passed the buck to Mike Pence, and much time was spent stroking egos with flattery and praise, instead of actually comforting the American people or the precious stock market.
Trump can't even pretend like he is paying attention or understanding what is being said. pic.twitter.com/D4Mh38mOyA
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) February 27, 2020
The Trump administration has ricocheted from stumble to bumble to outright failure so far, and it’s causing a panic so large that Speaker Pelosi announced the House would come up with a plan and she urged Trump to bring back the pandemic experts he let go while Senator Elizabeth Warren sent a concerned letter asking why two Trump administration heads contradicted the CDC’s recommendation.
Pelosi was referring to the fact that Trump hasn’t filed the parts of government that deal with a pandemic crisis. Rachel Maddow, citing reporting from Pulitzer Prize winning science journalist Laurie Garrett, reported that Trump “fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command back in 2018 and never replaced them with anyone.”
“One of the national security jobs the president emptied and never bothered to refill is the position at the national security council that’s supposed to take point on all global health security matters. There used to be someone in that job.”
On Tuesday, Trump’s acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf revealed that he was completely unprepared during a Senate hearing on the coronavirus, “Wolf couldn’t accurately state the number of coronavirus cases in the United States. He guessed fourteen. The real number is thirty-five.”
Wolf was so frighteningly ill-prepared that even Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) was outraged.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 25, 2020
Wolf also didn’t know how the virus was spread and instead kept repeating vague comments about “human-to-human, we’ve seen that.” When asked how it was transmitted, he couldn’t explain and kept repeating “human-to-human,” which is stunningly vague. Wolf was also unable to name the mortality rate, and would not confirm that we have enough respirators.
Wolf actually though the questions about respirators and masks were about the Department of Homeland Security team, not the American people. After Kennedy pushed him, Wolf finally admitted we do not have enough masks for the American people.
This stunning level of incompetence is not normal, nor is it meant as political criticism. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have managed to competently handle health crises in the past. This is just part of what people normally rely upon the government to do.
Then on Wednesday, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar – a former drug company executive and pharmaceutical lobbyist (drain that swamp) – refused to assure that the eventual vaccine would be affordable for all:
Here's the clip of Azar not assuring Rep. Schakowsky a covid-19 vaccine will be affordable to all. pic.twitter.com/Z8aNd4wLWj
— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) February 26, 2020
So, vaccines for the rich only, masks for the Trump administration but not enough for our citizens, and probably not enough respirators. Not exactly the stuff of stability.
Trump, concerned first and foremost with the stock market’s negative reaction to his failure to prepare for a pandemic, quickly tried to cover that failure up by suddenly replacing Azar with Mike Pence, who as governor of Indiana actually enabled the biggest HIV outbreak in the state due to his refusal to believe science. Why Pence? Well, most of Trump’s heads are currently “acting” heads, which is how he has managed to gut the entire government and replace it with political stooges whose only qualification is often being the best cheerleader for Trump.
Azar was reportedly blindsided by Trump’s actions (more proof that the people in Trump world really would benefit from reading a few things about how Trump treats everyone, and no, they are not exempt), because cowardly Trump once again never told him he was being replaced.
The stock market hates Trumpitis, the chaos and the instability, but Wall Street loves the deregulating Republicans.
And of course, that clustermuck was followed up with a humiliated Azar claiming he was still in charge.
Basically, Trump gutted the government, filled it up with even more swamp but this time totally incompetent swamp, and is running it with the mentality of Mean Girls. It should surprise no one that the market is headed toward its worst week since the Bush financial crisis.
Donald Trump is no Barack Obama or even George W Bush.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.