In his CNN column Monday, Harwood recalled Trump's victory lap after the markets closed Friday up 1,700 points after he announced a national emergency. But when the president spoke Sunday evening right after the Federal Reserve cut the interest rate, Dow Futures took a nosedive.
"People in the market should be very thrilled," Trump told reporters Sunday. On Friday, he claimed he was "honored" by the rally the markets had during his Rose Garden briefing. Harwood noted that it was the best say for the Dow since 2008, but it was after the worst day since 1987.
"Yet the President sounded like a manager celebrating one big inning in a game his team keeps losing," he wrote.
Despite the late surge on Friday, the markets dropped so much Monday morning that the second after the opening bell, the computers were paused for trading.
"That volatility echoed last week's results. Even after Friday's late surge, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 10% over the last week, 14% since Trump shook up his administration's response team in late February, and 20% since the first US coronavirus case was confirmed on January 21," wrote Harwood.
Trump feels a particular kinship with the stock market. The virus would make the markets fluctuate under any president, but Trump takes it personally. He's spent the majority of his presidency using the success of the Dow as a representation of his success as a president. Now that it's bottoming out, he's scrambling, losing hope in the market's ability to lift him to reelection.
"The reasons why grow increasingly evident over time. The qualities of leadership nervous investors yearn for -- candor, command of facts, stability, and predictability -- are qualities that Trump's record shows him temperamentally incapable of providing," Harwood explained.
He noted that while in real estate, Trump confessed that he played on people's dreams.
"People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts," Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal.
"His grandiosity was probably at its highest point ever a month ago," said Art of the Deal co-writer Tony Schwartz. "And suddenly, the floor has been pulled out from under him."
Sunday afternoon, Trump announced that the virus was "very contagious" but that he has "tremendous control" over it. It was evident Monday morning, that fact wasn't true.