As if Donald Trump doesn't have enough problems on his plate with the country crippled by the coronavirus pandemic that is causing the economy to collapse, now oil executives are furious with the president for cheering on the steep drop in oil prices.
According to a report from Politico, Trump's Twitter boast of "Good for the consumer, gasoline prices coming down!" on March 9th when prices dropped 25 percent infuriated oil execs who donated heavily to his 2016 campaign and it could come back to bite him in multiple ways as he gears up for re-election.
"In interviews, half a dozen industry officials who have talked with White House officials in recent days described Trump as slow to comprehend the twin body blows a global pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia would have on an industry he has long supported," Politico's Ben Lefebvre wrote while pointing out that the industry "employs hundreds of thousands of people in states key to any hope to beat his eventual Democratic rival for the presidency."
The collapse of the industry has already led to companies scaling back new projects such as one in swing state Pennsylvania that would have created new jobs at a time when unemployment is skyrocketing.
Lefebvre reports, "Trump’s favorability is quite low in Texas — 45 percent in a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll from early February, before the coronavirus crisis — compared to other predominantly Republican states, and he similarly lags in next-door New Mexico, a Democratic-leaning state which he hopes to win."
According to one oil exec who is a big Republican donor, the president and his aides fail to understand the longterm implications of the oil industry collapse.
“The president wants lower gas prices to a point, but this well exceeds that point, and the administration knows this,” explained Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary LLC. "The bigger worry for the administration from what I understand is helping an industry that consumers think produces fountains of gold. People that have spoken to the White House - myself included - are concerned that the administration doesn’t realize that the U.S. oil industry will eventually cease to exist at sub-$30 oil.”
Politico goes on to note that the White House refused to comment on the report.