Just when things were clicking into gear for Donald Trump, he had to blow it all up.
As the president's approval rating ticked upward, he decided to tick off the Chinese by escalating trade tensions via the threat of jacking up tariffs.
Like a bolt out of the blue, Trump decided to raise his 10 percent tariffs on $200B in Chinese products to 25 percent effective May 10. Another 25 percent tariff on $325B in Chinese goods may be imposed shortly after, according to the president.
Trump is under the misguided impression that tariffs hurt China, while it's US importers of Chinese goods, and ultimately American consumers, who pick up the tariff tab. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Isn't there anybody on his economic team or on the White House staff willing to set the president straight?
And of course, if Trump carries through on his threat to raise tariffs, China would be forced to issue retaliatory levies on American agricultural exports, dealing a mighty blow to American farmers, a group that backed the president in 2016.
The threat of a trade war sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is closely monitored by president Trump, crashing at the opening bell yesterday before recovering.
The DJIA is now down more than 500 points today following reports that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Trump isn't blowing smoke about his tariff threat.
What's up with Trump? He ramped up his trade war with China after his approval ratings hit a two-year high. Gallup put Trump's approval rating at 46 percent as of April 30.
The robust economy drove Trump's numbers up, as the first-quarter 3.2 percent GNP topped expectations.
More good news was in the works. The Gallup poll was released before the May 3 job numbers report that showed an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, the lowest in 50 years.
Despite the media uproar tied to the Mueller Report and fallout over Attorney General Bill Barr's ham-fisted attempt to whitewash the special counsel's findings, Trump had momentum among voters.
He's now frittering Big Mo away via reckless tweets threatening China with tariffs.
Trump just can't seem to accept success. He needs to bounce from one crisis to another. (E.g., a U.S. naval battle group led by the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln is now headed for the Persian Gulf to send a "clear and unmistakable message to Iran," according to national security advisor John Bolton).
If Trump doesn't blink on the tariff threat, we may all get a dose of economic chaos.
There's one sure thing: we'll know whom to blame for the mess.