In yet another blast from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the editors looked back at Friday’s stock market free fall and pointed the finger directly at President Donald Trump and his “trade-war general” Peter Navarro for being the main culprits.
After Friday’s disastrous stock market session that took a major downturn due to the escalation of the trade war — with China and Trump ordering billions of dollars in new tariffs — the Journal pointed out that there will be no winners.
Along the way, they bashed Trump for telling American businesses where they can and can’t manufacture products.
“The trouble with trade wars, like shooting wars, is that once they start you never know how they’re going to end. The enemy gets a vote, and sometimes events escalate in ugly fashion. Take Friday, which saw China retaliate for Donald Trump ’s recent tariffs, Mr. Trump blow a gasket, markets tank, and Mr. Trump impose even more tariffs,” the editorial began.
“Mr. Trump began tweeting like a bull in a china shop. ‘My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?’ he tweeted, as if Mr. Powell isn’t a patriot. ‘We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME,'” the Journal relayed.
“Order? Somebody should tell Chairman Trump this isn’t the People’s Republic of America,” they wrote. “U.S. businesses have been trying to shift production out of China to avoid tariffs, but supply chains that have been developed over decades can’t be uprooted overnight. And no other country has China’s huge relatively skilled workforce, infrastructure and network of suppliers.”
Then the editorial took a sarcastic turn.
“Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade-war general, seems to think China has more to lose from a tariff escalation. ‘The risk here for China, when it does things like this, is simply to galvanize support even more for the President. Seven-five billion dollars worth of tariffs in terms of what the combined $30 trillion economy is not something for the stock market to worry about and we’re cool here,'” the Journal quoted Trump’s trade czar.
“Got that, markets? Just chill, baby, ” the editors raged. “But that was before Mr. Trump promised to retaliate yet again, and markets are wondering if we’re heading toward mutual assured economic destruction. Mr. Trump this week also dismissed the risk of a recession, but his continued mauling of Mr. Powell suggests he’s less than confident about the U.S. economy. Perhaps Beijing has taken note and believes its leverage in trade negotiations is increasing.”
“U.S. motor vehicle jobs have declined by 16,000 this year amid a slowdown in domestic sales. Tesla, BMW and Daimler plants in the U.S. that export luxury cars to China will get whacked with tariffs come December. Farmers who have been bearing the tariff brunt will receive another dose of pain in September,” the piece continued before ending with a harsh jab at one of the president’s more famous boasts.
“What was that again about trade wars being easy to win?” they wrote.
You can read the whole piece here (subscription required).