Paul Krugman: Trump is ‘disintegrating before our eyes’ as stocks plunge and the presidents barks orders to US companies
Paul Krugman speaks to The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco on May 22, 2012. (Ed Ritger/Flickr)

Descending to new lows of absurdity, arrogance, and delusion, President Donald Trump demanded that American companies “immediately start looking for an alternative to China” as his trade war with the foreign power drags on. Trump’s earlier comments in the week already had observers questioning his mental wellness, but this new outburst provided fresh evidence of his lack of connection to reality and instability:

Earlier, Trump had lashed out at the Federal Reserve chair:

These manic declarations came amid increasingly worrying economic signals and as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points Friday morning.

But despite these outbursts, economist Paul Krugman, a frequent critic of the Republican Party and the president in particular, suggested on Twitter that “it’s not clear whether Trump is getting any crazier. It’s just that events have stopped accommodating his madness.”

He continued: “The story of both the markets and the economy since 2016 has been that investors decided, in effect, either that Trump isn’t really as demented as he sounds or that it doesn’t matter, because grownups will restrain him.”

This has seemed to be something of a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” Krugman said, because the relatively strong economy gave Trump little reason to overreact.

“But now, at the first hint of a setback — I mean, no recession yet, no major market plunge, just a modest slowdown (so far) — he’s disintegrating before our eyes. And the closest thing we have to a grownup on the scene is the Lego Batman guy [Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin],” he went on. “Again, not clear whether Trump is any crazier than he was; maybe he’s deteriorating, but is calling Powell an enemy notably worse than the stuff about crowd sizes at his inaugural and refusing to admit he lost the popular vote?”