White House trade adviser Peter Navarro did not react well when confronted by CNN anchor Poppy Harlow on Monday morning over sinking stock markets in the wake of a full-blown coronavirus pandemic, insisting that now wasn’t the time to talk about whether the president’s response to the crisis was causing markets to plummet.
Appearing on CNN just as the Dow Jones Industrial Average opened Monday morning with a 10 percent drop that caused trading to be temporarily halted—something that’s been happening more frequently lately—Navarro first attempted to sidestep questions on whether America was now in a recession.
After Navarro boasted about everything he and the White House coronavirus task force were doing to try to mitigate the spread of the virus amid mass cancellations and shutdowns, adding that he has the “full force of American business” working with the government, Harlow stopped him short.
“I hear you, Peter, but the Dow is off 2,200 points, the S&P is off 8 percent,” she exclaimed. “You’re a top economist at the White House. Are we headed into a recession? I appreciate the efforts you just outlined, but this is freaking people out, Peter!”
“Look, here’s what’s critical now, Poppy,” Navarro replied. “It’s the policy response, and we have to have four different vectors coming in all at once in a matter of days, not weeks.”
“But Peter, what can you do? The market’s off 2,000 points!” Harlow shot back.
The CNN anchor would go on to reiterate that the “market is not responding well at all” to the federal government’s recent actions to fight COVID-19, which recently included another Federal Reserve rate cut and insertion of liquidity into the credit markets. Harlow further noted that during their conversation, she couldn’t track the market movements because trading had been halted for 15 minutes.
“Finally for the message from the president over the weekend is that this virus is under tremendous control, but Dr. Fauci leading this effort says the worst is yet to come and the cases have doubled over the weekend, Peter,” Harlow eventually stated. “Markets are looking for leadership. Leadership is prescriptive. The markets here are reacting also to the president and his words. Is he doing enough to put confidence in the market by saying something that’s not under control is?”
Navarro, who has repeatedly credited Trump when the stock markets have surged and has literally said he’s “never disappointed in my president,” admonished Harlow for her question.
“Poppy, let’s not do that kind of thing right now,” he huffed.
“Peter, it’s not doing that kind of thing,” she answered. “The market is hanging on his words. You know this.”
While stocks have been plunging over the past few weeks over fears that the coronavirus will cause a global economic recession or even depression, the president bragged about the one-day Dow rally on Friday, sending off autographed stock graphs to loyalists such as Fox Business host Lou Dobbs.