Well, as noted, you can expect no shortage of President Dennison in the week ahead as the ongoing tumult at 1600 Penn., the Mueller probe, and the porn star fiasco seem to have pushed Trump over the edge this weekend.
His Saturday rally in Pennsylvania was even crazier than everyone thought it would be and his Sunday tweets suggest he’s furious that someone leaked his meeting with Clinton impeachment attorney Emmet T. Flood.
All of that probably means he’ll be prone to erratic behavior when it comes to the fallout from the steel and aluminum tariffs.
“The repercussions of Trump’s tariffs remain to be seen, although the concerns about a trade war appear to have diminished following the inclusion of exemptions in the initial protectionist measures,” Barclays wrote over the weekend, adding that “further action is expected, as Trump hinted that new restrictions on Chinese exports may be announced amid an investigation about China’s intellectual-property practices.” That refers to rumors that the U.S. is said to be considering a broad crackdown on Chinese imports.
On Saturday, he tweeted this:
The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum. If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likewise drop ours. Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 10, 2018
I’m not sure that helps this situation.
As Goldman noted on Friday, for now the fallout from the tariffs has been confined to “firms that [are] vulnerable to rising steel and aluminum input costs [which] have underperformed the Industrials sector by more than 300 bp in the last two weeks.” Any further escalation could see the pain spread, but the hope is that the exemptions announced on Thursday are indicative of a more conciliatory stance from the administration. Unfortunately, it seems as though Trump’s judgment on the trade front is clouded by his mood swings which are themselves a product of personnel problems at the White House. Those personnel problems are not going away.