President Donald Trump demanded U.S. companies stop doing business with China and announced increased tariffs on Beijing Friday, capping one of the most extraordinary days in the long-running U.S.-China trade war.
By the end of the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 600 points, or nearly 2.4 percent, and the business community was warning of negative effects on investor confidence and American jobs.
The day began with Beijing’s announcement that it would levy new tariffs on $75 billion in goods, including reinstated levies on auto products, starting this fall.
Beijing’s tariff retaliation was delivered with strategic timing, hours before an important address by the Fed chair, Jerome H. Powell, and as Trump prepared to depart for the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz.
Trump initially directed his ire at Powell in Friday tweets, painting the Fed’s lack of monetary easing as a greater threat to American workers and businesses. “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” he tweeted.
But moments later, he said he would be responding to China’s tariffs later Friday and demanded American companies cut ties with China.
“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” Trump tweeted.
Remember when trade wars were good and easy to win? Now the trade war with China is escalating, Trump is calling Xi and Powell “enemies,” and ordering private companies to leave China. This is best understood as Trump failing disastrously and in a frantic panic about it.
After those summits, Trump was irked at the lengthy discussions about the environment and oceans, the people familiar said, and felt he wasn't given enough room to tout his achievements as president. Inside the White House, it wasn't clear Trump would commit to attending the this year's G7 until late spring.
To help make his attendance this week more palatable, aides lobbied to add a Sunday morning session focused on the global economy as a venue for him to brag about the US economy to leaders of nations where growth is slowing.
Trump was bored by all the serious talk about the increasingly severe climate threat, so his aides said he could use the gathering to boast about the awesome Trump economy, even as his advisers are privately sounding increasingly dire warnings about it. Sounds about right.
Joe Walsh, a conservative radio show host and a former Tea Party congressman from Illinois who is expected to announce a long shot primary challenge to President Trump in the coming days, is wooing the husband of Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, for a senior role in his campaign — a signal of his intent to troll Mr. Trump into engagement with him.
Mr. Walsh met on Thursday with George T. Conway III, the prominent conservative lawyer who is married to Ms. Conway, one of Mr. Trump’s longest-serving aides. During the hourslong conversation, the two discussed strategy going forward, according to two people familiar with the conversation, and Mr. Walsh asked Mr. Conway if he would join his nascent campaign in a leading formal role.
The challenge is hopeless, of course, but Trump probably is dopey enough to getting baited into engaging with it.
* Antonia Noori Farzan reports that after Trump claimed doctors left their patients to greet him in all his splendor during his visits to hospitals after recent mass shootings, the hospitals are claiming this is complete nonsense.
* Perry Bacon Jr. has a useful look at four takeaways from all the recent presidential polling. One of the big puzzles remains the fact that Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke are still stuck in single digits.
* Adam Serwer has a great essay arguing that ultimately, the only way to defeat the rise of white nationalism is through politics, that is, through a reaffirmation of multiracial democracy that only the American people can make a reality.
* Billy House and Bob Van Voris make an important point: Nancy Pelosi’s foot-dragging strategy on impeachment is getting tested in a new legal battle to get Trump’s financial records. If Democrats lose, the failure to launch an impeachment inquiry is going to look a lot worse.
* Center for American Progress Action has a website documenting Trump’s broken promises that’s worth checking out.
* This is a very powerful ad from Amy McGrath, who’s challenging Mitch McConnell:
Beating McConnell is an extreme long shot, of course, but this will be a campaign to watch.