At his whim, and with complete ignorance of the business deal at hand, a Trump tweet dropped Boeing stock 20%.
But it’s not just stocks. Private deals are in jeopardy too. Legitimate businesses, businesses which, unlike the Trump Brand, actually make things, are nervous.
Why? Because one tweet and a deal, often years in the making, can be clouded with doubt.
This morning Chris DeMuth Jr. reported foreign buyers are balking at buying White Mountains, an insurance company, after Trump’s election. Deal-makers, he wrote, especially those involved in cross-border deals, are gun shy of Trump’s nationalism and weaponized Twitter account.
More troubling, is Trump’s erratic unpredictability, ignorance of real business deals, and kleptocratic habit of punishing those who disagree with him, or rewarding those who kiss ass, aka LL Bean.
DeMuth also reported other deal-makers are lining up in front of Trump Tower to “kowtow” to the Electoral College President Elect. SoftBank wants approval for Sprint to participate in wireless consolidation, including perhaps by buying T-Mobile. Alibaba, a part of Yahoo, is seeking approval for selling a major asset to Verizon, also met with Trump. After that, Monsanto and Bayer, which want merger approval, had a meeting with the ECPE. Next up, AT&T, who wants to merge with/buy Time Warner (remember Trump hates CNN which is a Time asset) got in line!
Breath taking scope for Trump and Co. to make inside deals, mashing them on a whim, or do a favor for a corporate friend? You bet! Just think of the insider information for shorting stocks as well!
This is not how it is supposed to be. A President makes policy for all companies to thrive, not just the ones he likes, can benefit from, or simply wants to crush at his pleasure.
If you don’t think this matters, it does. Imagine you are about to sell your small business after years of hard work building it up. Then Trump finds out you voted Dem and tweets: “Bad Business, don’t Buy!” Or imagine he lavishes praise on your competitor because they made a bigger donation to his campaign.
This is not big league Commander in Chief of the Economy behavior. It’s sand box, small-ball kleptocracy in the making.