April 16, 2020

Donald Trump held a phone call with several Wall Street CEO's yesterday, and by more than one report, it was a shitshow. Headline News covered it this way:

JENNIFER WESTHOVEN: Yes there were a lot of promises about this, the president wanted to talk to a big group of business leaders about reopening, they had their first call of this yesterday. The Wall Street Journal says they just kept pressing him for more testing. Dramatically more testing. Saying you cannot reopen unless we have testing, testing, testing. That is from business leaders but it is also from governors. It is from doctors. It is from economists. That is what we need and until we get that, talk about reopening doesn't make sense. It might even hurt the economy more. Look, it's the analogy we've been using is get the baby over the bridge, keep the economy intact until we get to the other side, what if we get to the other side and it is Groundhogs Day except this time it's a horror movie again -- of more death, reports of ice rinks to store bodies -- if you get across the other side and that is what it looks like? That's going to do a lot more long term damage to the economy.

Apparently the Wall Street bank executives got less than 12 hours notice that there would be a conference call with the so-called president. Several of them already had earnings reports calls that they HAD to take during the same hour, so they stood up the White House. That's what happens when the White House is tremendously understaffed and the staff they've got is incompetent. Also, Wall Street doesn't drop everything to listen to Donald Trump, go figure. Politico:

One top executive described the call as a “shit show” that produced little of substance. Trump asked several questions, including to Moynihan about how the small business loan program was going. That program is now slated to run out of money soon.

Beyond the haphazard nature of the call, senior bankers are getting increasingly frustrated with Trump’s approach to the crisis. They say pressure tactics to reopen the economy as fast as possible make no sense if the virus isn’t fully under control and consumers and businesses don’t feel safe to resume anything close to normal activities.

“I really don’t understand how they are communicating on this,” one CEO told POLITICO on condition that neither they nor their firm be named for fear of angering the White House. “He’s got to stop talking about turning the economy back on and start talking about making people feel safe, things that are happening around testing and the health care system. That’s the only way you will really get the economy reopened over a period of time.”

So NOW Trump will "ramp up" testing? Really.

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