When the president tweeted this yesterday, it seemed as if our impetuous chief executive was hellbent on keeping fears of a dumb Chinese trade war stoked while also attempting to put political pressure on The Fed.
The tweet is a true Trumpian triple threat: Exclamatory, unsubtly threatening and using a fact that is really political opinion in a Kabuki mask. It is also just inscrutable enough to create uncertainty for those reading it, which is an incredibly rash thing for a president to do when the topic is geopolitical economic brinksmanship mixed with domestic monetary policy.
If we hadn't been so throughly gaslighted by this man for the past three years, this tweet would have sent shockwaves through the world's economy. Instead, we have a lot of people stroking their chins, hedging their bets and muttering "What is this fucking guy even talking about?"
Well, please allow the self-appointed Chief Trump Economic Translator explain this doofily nonsensical tweet:
"It was a warning shot at China and Russia about devaluation. China has devalued their currency in the past," Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "They've used a lot of their reserves to actually support the currency. The president wants to make sure they don't change their plans, and he's watching it."
This is the actual US Treasury Secretary hoping to quell citizen investors fears that the president is just tweeting wacky shit about things that really matter. But this is also Steve Mnuchin, so the effect is lost because it's not a warning shot, Chinese currency devaluation is not an accepted fact (ask that liberal rag, The Wall Street Journal), the president only cares about China for the 5 minutes after Peter Navarro is done kissing his ass and he's not really "watching it."
And neither is Steve Mnuchin. Like his boss, Mnuchin's whole routine is to just go around telling people that he and Trump are on the same page and executing a cogent plan that they both grasp on some level. Mnuchin and Trump are opportunists, not strategists, and they don't really have a plan.
You might say that we're being a partisan lib media stereotype here but riddle us this: If Trump and Mnooks have an actual strategy that includes risking a trade war and throwing a forearm on The Fed's political freedom, why in the name of King Dollar is Larry fucking Kudlow working there? And why did Jay Powell get the gig running The Fed after doing everything short of getting a "Janet Yellen is BAE" neck tattoo?
Trump tweeting a bunch of bullshit about serious stuff is dangerous, but having his supremely unqualified Treasury Secretary act like a translator for that bullshit when he is just guessing, and doing it poorly, is beyond the pale of reason.
That said, it is still kind of funny.