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Markets plunge as critics say Trump’s desperate efforts to calm the panic have backfired

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by Eoin Higgins

The stock market plunged 970 points Thursday, or 3.58%, as fears of the economic impact of the global coronavirus outbreak—and President Donald Trump’s mishandling of the crisis—continued to roil the world’s financial markets after last week’s panic sent markets into freefall.

“It’s kind of like an earthquake—there’s the earthquake, which is last week, and then there’s the aftershocks, which is this week,” MUFG Union Bank chief financial economist Chris Rupkey told the New York Post.

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Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has been blamed by some observers for market volatility. The White House response to the coronavirus outbreak has been erratic, with health officials being contradicted by the president and Trump going on cable news to downplay the level of danger posed by the disease.

On Wednesday night, as Common Dreams reported, Trump called into Fox News‘ “Hannity” and told the eponymous host that he had a “hunch” the reported death rate was being misreported, that people with mild symptoms of the disease should nonetheless go into work, and likened the coronavirus to the common flu.

The Nation‘s Jeet Heer commented on Twitter that the president’s insistence on pinning his political performance on the stock market was creating a situation where active measures to stop a pandemic might be deprioritized to ensure financial markets continued to do well.

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“Trump staking his presidency on a good stock market was once just an annoying tic (one he shares by many other politicians),” said Heer. “But now there’s a situation that makes it actively harmful.”

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Airline stocks led Thursday’s drop after a global slowdown in air travel due to the continuing outbreak was projected to cost billions in travel.

Thursday’s losses more than erased gains from Wednesday on the back of a health insurance stock surge that some analysts suggested was because of former Vice President Joe Biden’s strong showing in the Super Tuesday 2020 Democratic primary contests against fellow frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. But, as Rosenberg Research CEO and strategist David Rosenberg told the Washington Post, that was a boost with a one-time application.

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“Yesterday’s market catalysts, clearly a slate of one-offs, were Joe Biden’s success on Super Tuesday and a range of spending announcements to tackle the coronavirus,” said Rosenberg. “Markets typically price in an announcement once. It got it yesterday. The news today is the spread of the virus in the U.S. and Italy closing schools, universities, and museums.”


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Trump calls Minneapolis protesters ‘thugs’ — and threatens military action

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President Donald Trump blasted protesters in Minnesota outraged over the killing of George Floyd.

“ I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted after midnight.

“A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” he wrote, even though the National Guard was already deployed.

“ These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he threatened.

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2020 Election

Trump loyalist Lindsey Graham locked in dead heat with Democratic challenger in red South Carolina

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is locked in a dead heat in his bid to win re-election, a new online poll finds.

Graham, who has represented South Carolina in Congress since 1995 and held his Senate seat since 2003, has in recent months faced mounting pressure from Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. A new Civiqs poll released this week finds the two rivals tied at 42%.

A deeper dive into the poll reveals more possibly unnerving developments for Graham. Fifty-six percent of South Carolina voters have an unfavorable view of the senator, while only 35% have a positive view of him.

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WATCH: Minneapolis police station burns after protesters reportedly seize the building

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On Thursday night, the Minneapolis Police Department's third precinct was destroyed.

Here are some of the images from the scene.

https://twitter.com/david_schuman/status/1266225916734083073

https://twitter.com/cityminneapolis/status/1266224316645027841

https://twitter.com/carlosgphoto/status/1266217996395204608

https://twitter.com/seth_kaplan/status/1266214898171772930

https://twitter.com/nickstreiff/status/1266208914808492033

https://twitter.com/ur_ninja/status/1266228441449365504

https://twitter.com/echalouxkstp/status/1266215697002254337

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