President Trump had a bad week.
There’s no real way to sugarcoat that, frankly. His chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, headed for the exit. So, too, did dozens of companies and individuals who’d agreed to participate in advisory boards and positions to help guide Trujmp’s administration. Oh, and then there all of those magazine covers linking him to white-supremacist groups, a function of his decision Tuesday to suggest that their political ideas were worthy of inclusion in the public sphere.
In most cases, Trump would respond to a week like this by pointing to some other metric that indicates his success. He likes to talk about the number of new jobs added under his administration, for example, as though adding a million jobs over the first seven months of the year is exceptional. (It isn’t.) But his go-to way of showing how successful he’s been has been to point at the stock market.
U.S. Stock Market up almost 20% since Election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
Stock Market could hit all-time high (again) 22,000 today. Was 18,000 only 6 months ago on Election Day. Mainstream media seldom mentions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2017
And from earlier this week, a retweet of this:
President Trump alone has succeeded in bringing the Stock Market, Small Business Index and Consumer Comfort to ALL TIME HIGHS! #MAGA
— Jacob Wohl (@JacobAWohl) August 16, 2017
There’s just one problem. On that metric, the growth of the Dow, this was the second-worst week of Trump’s presidency.
Comparing Monday’s opening price with Friday’s closing, the Dow Jones industrial average fell by more than 270 points, the second-highest weekly drop since he was inaugurated. The biggest drop was in the week beginning March 20, when the Dow fell nearly 320 points.
Put another way, the Dow lost 1.23 percent of its value, also the second-biggest drop after the week of March 20.
What happened in the week of March 20 that was so detrimental to stock prices? Among other things, the House health-care bill collapsed.
If the Dow continues to slide next week, Trump’s at real risk of seeing one of the worst months of his presidency. The decline in the Dow since the beginning of August has been nearly as steep in price and percentage as the decline over the course of March. (It’s worth noting that the drop in March followed a big expansion in February.)
It has always been a bad idea for Trump to consistently point to the performance of the stock market as a measure of his success, and not only because 4 in 10 Americans have no money in stocks. During weeks such as this one, when the Dow sinks, it invites the natural question of whether it’s a function of how Trump is doing.
In this case, though, that comparison is apt.