Trump now claims the stock market is rigged against him

The buck always stops somewhere else.

Trump on Tuesday. (CREDIT: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
Trump on Tuesday. (CREDIT: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

As recently as last week, President Trump was bragging about how stock market gains he purportedly engineered were propelling an economic surge benefiting all Americans.

“[It’s] smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value,” Trump said during the State of the Union. “That is great news for Americans’ 401(k), retirement, pension and college saving accounts.”

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The speech capped off a year in which Trump repeatedly linked the stock market’s steady rise — a rise that began under President Obama in 2009 — with the fortunes of all Americans, roughly half of whom don’t have any investments.

But now, days after the largest single-day point drop in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Trump is claiming the exact opposite — that the stock market is rigged against him because it tanked in response to good economic news he helped engineer.

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“In the ‘old days,’ when good news was reported, the Stock Market would go up,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “Today, when good news is reported, the Stock Market goes down. Big mistake, and we have so much good (great) news about the economy!”

The historic Dow Jones drop that occurred on Monday was in part a reaction to Friday’s jobs report, which showed stronger wage growth than at any point since 2009. As companies sink more money into wages, there’s less left for shareholders.

Wage growth also contributes to concerns about inflation — another drag on corporate profits and the expectation thereof, which is what motivates the stock market. That dynamic, coupled with the fact that many Americans don’t have investments, is a big reason why economists differentiate between economic news that is actually good for working-class people and stock market gains.

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The relationship between wage growth and inflationary pressures on one hand and downward pressure on stock prices isn’t new, so it’s unclear what Trump — who attended the Wharton business school — means when he refers to the “old days.”

Monday’s sell-off created an awkward visual for Trump, who was giving a speech in Ohio bragging about how good the economy is right as the Dow Jones tanked. Fox News even cut away from Trump’s speech to cover the roughly 1,100-point drop. Roughly half of those losses were recovered during trading on Tuesday and Wednesday.