When Donald Trump talks at Maria Bartiromo, magic happens.
Sequestered away in a building he hates, surrounded by people he is incapable of trusting, and doing a job that he is unfit to do, Trump subsists on the emotional relief that he derives from picking up the nearest available telephone to watch himself talk live on whatever Fox-owned television network strikes his fancy. And for Fox, it's pretty solid programming, which is more than likely why its broadcasters have adopted an avant-garde role of on-air active listener/ego fluffer to the leader of the free world.
And -- outside of human-potato breeding experiment Sean Hannity -- no ones excels in this new on-air capacity more than our pal, the original Money Honey™ herself, M-Barts.
In fact, there is no better demonstration of her skillset than her show from this morning, on which she merely sat back and let our emotionally-cornered commander-in-chief rant at her for almost an hour on topics ranging from Twitter making it hard for people to follow him [he has more than 61 million followers], to expanding his trade war with China into Vietnam, accusing Robert Meuller of doing a crime, and also his displeasure with Europe.
While most of the thoughts coming from the Whtie Houe phone line were pretty batshit, Trump's line of thinking on how Europe and the US are competing economically was our personal favorite:
President Trump on Wednesday said the U.S. would be better off if European Central Bank President Mario Draghi led the Federal Reserve, instead of its current chairman, Jerome Powell.
“European nations were set up in order to take advantage of the United States. It was set up for trade in order to take advantage, and they have. You know, they very smartly have. And they have Draghi who is – we should have Draghi instead of our Fed person,” Trump said in response to whether he is working on a deal with Europe, during an exclusive interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
Hearing the actual president jealously muse about the economic superiority of the European Union in mid-2019 is the kind of abstract counterfactual nonsense that makes us wonder if we macro-dosed our micro-dose this morning. Trump is clearly displeased that the guy he hired to do his own thing running US monetary policy is actually doing his own thing, but this whole flirtation with Draghi is just comedic. His orange thinking is not built to recognize apples.
But, hey, the president is a very stable genius, so let's hear him out on why Draghi is so great at money:
“What Europe did with Draghi is they’re forcing money in, we’re doing the opposite. We’re taking money out and we’re raising interest rates – it’s insane,” he said.
Indeed, this is insane.
Draghi is looking at the recent aftermath of multiple crises while simultaneously managing the next massive crisis that has already started. That's what Europe's economy really is. He's at the point in a roller coaster where you come out of a freefall and pause, that sweet moment of fake calm that precipitates another plunge. Sure, the guy has been roundly criticized for his neverending easing cycle --and a debt addict like The Donald must get a little engorged imagining what kind of dark magic effect negative rates would have on liabilities -- but it's not hard to imagine that Mario Draghi would have spent the first 12 months of Jay Powell's Fed tenure raising rates by double what Powell has, if only to provide himself extra cushion for the downturn his PTSD has led him to believe is always just around the corner. Which is something Trump so clearly doesn't understand that he made it clear he doesn't understand it:
“[Powell] should have never raised the rates to the extent that he did," Trump added. "If he would have raised them half – just half – and if he would have not done the quantitative tightening, our market would have been up another 10,000 points. And I’ll tell you, GDP would have been up another point or two points. We could have hit – we potentially could have hit 5 [percent]."
But also, we're wrong about all of that, because Mario Draghi would have quit by now. Mario Draghi would have given Trump the finger, raised rates 200 basis points and resigned immediately after the second tweet criticizing his stewardship of The Fed, because Mario Draghi is a Roman and Romans don't put up with that kind of shit.
But this is all really about Jay Powell, a man Trump holds in seething contempt for not doing his bidding at all times, emotions that Emperor Donald is now utterly done trying to conceal, which he also made clear to Bartiromo by saying this:
“Here’s a guy, nobody ever heard of him before. And now, I made him, and he wants to show how tough he is, okay. Let him show how tough he is. He’s--he’s he’s not doing a good job.”
Hey, Jay Powell, be more Roman.