If you’re Donald Trump, the problem with firing, ousting, ostracizing and otherwise pushing out every credible man and woman who you tricked into being a part of the train wreck you call an “administration”, is that when things go wrong, you don’t have anybody you can dispatch to do damage control.
For instance, when Trump decided last week to give in to the demands of Turkish President Erdogan by pulling U.S. troops from Syria, Jim Mattis subsequently resigned, so Trump ended up sending Stephen Miller out to discuss America’s military strategy. That was obviously a disaster.
Steve Mnuchin doesn’t exactly embody the word “credible”, but considering who’s left on Trump’s roster, he’s about as good as it gets, which is why it was especially disconcerting to see the Treasury Secretary screw up so badly on Sunday and Monday.
Despite the ham-handed effort to reassure markets by accidentally suggesting banks had no money in them, nobody wants to see Mnuchin fired. That’s why reports that Trump could target his Treasury Secretary in lieu of firing his Fed chair were alarming when they started making the rounds (again) on Christmas Day.
Of course you can’t really dispatch Steve Mnuchin to tell the media that Steve Mnuchin’s job is safe because that doesn’t make any sense and in the same vein, you can’t have Mnuchin tell the public that Powell’s job is safe because the whole reason Trump wants to fire Mnuchin in the first place is because of Powell.
What do you do? Well, you could dispatch Gary Cohn, be he quit a long time ago. Or you could dispatch Wilbur Ross, but nobody has seen him in weeks. You could dispatch Peter Navarro, but he hates Mnuchin. So, you go with Kevin Hassett.
“Powell’s job is 100% safe”, Hassett assured markets on Wednesday morning, while delivering a series of other ostensibly soothing soundbites including a contention that Trump is “very happy about Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.”
On Mnuchin’s accidental warning that U.S. banks are facing an acute liquidity crisis that could constrain lending to consumers and businesses, Hassett said the U.S. “doesn’t” in fact face a “hidden liquidity crisis”, like the one tipped by the same Mnuchin who Hassett says Trump is “very happy about.”
The Dow turned red for the first time on Wednesday literally as these comments crossed the wires and rebounded as soon as Hassett shut up, a development befitting of the circumstances.
We’ve now reached a point where Kevin Hassett is the best Trump can come up with in the face of the worst December since the Great Depression for U.S. equities.
You’re reminded that this is the same Kevin Hassett who in October accused Goldman of being in on a Democrat conspiracy to release “opposition research.” Here’s the video for anyone who needs a refresher:
Hard to believe anyone questions his credibility, right?!