President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Friday joked about a precipitous drop in the stock market following a series of tweets lashing out at China, quipping that it was perhaps spurred by Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonEx-CBO director calls for more than trillion in coronavirus stimulus spending Overnight Defense: Trump’s move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd’s death ‘a national tragedy’ Democrats blast Trump’s use of military against protests MORE (D-Mass.) dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary.
“The Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!” Trump tweeted.
The Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
Moulton, a former Marine and three-term congressman, announced Friday morning he would no longer seek the Democratic nomination. He told reporters in response to Trump’s tweet that he’s “glad [Trump] thinks I have more influence on the Dow than he does.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost roughly 2 percentage points on the day amid an escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China. The S&P 500 was similarly down roughly 2 percent for the day, and the NASDAQ had lost nearly 3 percentage points.
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The sell-off began after Trump tweeted earlier Friday that he wanted U.S. companies to seek “an alternative” to doing business in China after Beijing pledged to impose $75 billion in retaliatory tariffs on American cars, farm products and other goods.
“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” Trump tweeted.
He promised a response to the Chinese tariffs on Friday afternoon, though he had not announced one as of 3 p.m. and the White House has not indicated there will be a formal statement.
The president does not have the authority to dictate how private businesses operate, though his request was not entirely new. Trump has for years attempted to persuade U.S. companies to do more business domestically, and has increased those efforts through the implementation of tariffs.