“If the stock market goes up or down ― I don’t watch the stock market,” Trump said in London, where he is attending a NATO summit. “I watch jobs. Jobs are what I watch.”
The president’s remarks followed a day of swooning financial markets ― an apparent reaction to Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. might not strike a deal settling his trade war with China until after the 2020 election.
Trump dismissed the drop as “peanuts,” adding: “We have picked up record numbers so that’s OK. That’s the way I feel.”
Trump has often pointed to the stock market as evidence of his presidency’s success. He touted gains twice last week on Twitter.
“New Stock Market Record today,” he wrote Wednesday. “AGAIN: Congratulations USA!”
Two days earlier, he applauded another record, writing, “Enjoy!”
“I have no deadline,” he said, “In some ways I think it’s better to wait until after the election.”
The comments rattled investors, who had expected a trade deal soon based on assurances from the White House. The U.S. and China are still haggling over Phase 1 of a deal as Trump threatens new tariffs on over $100 billion in Chinese products on Dec. 15, including laptops, cellphones and toys. The U.S. already has placed levies on $360 billion in goods.
Tensions have been exacerbated further by Trump’s signing of two bills backing pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong who have been rallying against the Chinese government. The laws will penalize Chinese officials with sanctions if they are charged with human rights violations, and will require an annual review of Hong Kong’s special trade agreement with the U.S.