Trump gives worst presidential address ever – then somehow manages to make the coronavirus emergency worse!
The reviews are in!
Trump's delivery was weird. He looked nervous and could barely articulate words. He stunned Europe by announcing he was blocking all of their goods. He took it back in a tweet that acknowledged no mistake. Will reporting on this speech address what's right in front of our eyes? pic.twitter.com/BS7RkFcUed
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) March 12, 2020
I suspect that was the single worst – and most counter-productive – presidential address in history
— Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) March 12, 2020
An Oval Office address should be the most vetted speech a President gives. And one on a global pandemic even more. Trump's speech tonight has already had a clarifying statement from DHS and a Trump tweet contradicting the oval address. Presidential fail.
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) March 12, 2020
The speech by @realDonaldTrump is most remarkable for its xenophobia, but it also failed to prepare Americans for what it is to come or for fixing the testing fiasco. We are about to prove the adage that things have to get worse before they get even worse.
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) March 12, 2020
That was disturbing in so many ways.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 12, 2020
And, wouldn’tcha know it, Tuump made the crisis even worse.
First, there was this “hot mic” moment broadcast on C-SPAN just after Trump warpped up his Wednesday evening Oval Office speech…
… that got the facts wrong, prompting corporate America to issue a correction:
During an Oval Office address, President Donald Trump claimed that health insurers will “waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments,” and the industry was quick to correct him. …
Trump’s claim tonight that health insurers “have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments” seems to be news to them.
“For testing. Not for treatment.” a spokesperson for the major insurance lobby AHIP says.
— Sarah Owermohle (@owermohle) March 12, 2020
His ban on Europeans traveling to the US, which goes into effect Friday, is backfiring already:
[H]e announced that his Europe ban would “apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo” across the Atlantic, prompting the White House to rush out a statement explaining that the president had got it wrong, and that the new policy would, in fact, only apply to people, not goods. If the plan was to project a White House coolly capable in the face of a crisis, that mix-up and Trump’s halting discomfort in front of the teleprompter conveyed the precise opposite.
During his speech, Trump had called for bipartisanship – then, hours later, attacked Democrats:
On Thursday morning, he woke up and immediately issued partisan attacks on Democratic congressional leaders.
Mr. Trump’s call for a suspension of partisanship lasted just nine hours, at least some of which he was presumably asleep. While some of Mr. Trump’s allies and advisers have urged him to stop fighting and assert more national leadership, the president made clear that it does not suit him.
The first of the president’s partisan jabs came before dawn on Thursday morning and had nothing to do with the coronavirus or anything that had happened in the last few days. Instead, he reached back to revive a controversy from a week ago when Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, harshly assailed two conservative Supreme Court justices over abortion rights.
The markets were not happy on Wednesday morning:
The S&P 500 Index plunged as much 8.5% before paring the drop somewhat, with trading settling into a range after an initial bout of selling triggered a 15-minute NYSE-mandated halt. Trading will stop again if losses reach 13% any time before 3:25 p.m. European stocks tumbled 10% in the biggest intraday rout on record. The 10-year Treasury yield slid below 0.7%. Oil tumbled back toward $30 a barrel. Gold sank.
President Donald Trump’s travel ban and tepid fiscal measures sparked the latest leg down in risk assets, while the European Central Bank failed to stem the rout after it left rates unchanged, though it temporarily increased its QE program and took steps to boost liquidity.
“At this stage people are panicking,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for MUFG Union Bank. “The other shoe keeps dropping in a way we can’t foresee.”