Bumpy night

So what happens when Don has a really bad day? He starts trashing the place in earnest.

President Trump whiplashed Washington through 24 hours of chaos and confusion, culminating Thursday with a surprise announcement that he will unilaterally impose steep tariffs on all steel and aluminum imports.

His own aides were stunned. The stock market plunged. It was the moment many of his advisers had long feared would occur when he grew tired of talking points and economic theory and decided to do things his way.

Maybe next time it will be starting the nuclear Armageddon.

Trump often likes to sow misdirection, running the White House like a never-ending reality show where only he knows the plot. But even by his standards, the day-long period that ended Thursday left some senior aides and Republican lawmakers wondering whether the White House had finally come unmoored, detached from any type of methodology that past presidents have relied on to run the country and lead the largest economy in the world.

Well that’s for grown-ups. Trump is a child.

On Thursday morning, Trump had a meeting with top economic advisers including Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Cohn warned against the tariffs, and a number of White House advisers came away from it believing that a decision had been postponed and that Trump’s meeting with steel and aluminum executives would amount to little more than another gathering of CEOs at the White House, several people briefed on the planning said.

After all, they had persuaded Trump before, diverting him from withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement and a free-trade agreement with South Korea.

But that all changed around noon. Trump unexpectedly summoned reporters into the Cabinet Room for his meeting with the executives. Senior White House officials did not want reporters to attend the meeting, for fear of Trump announcing tariffs, but the president made an impromptu call to bring in the media and proceeded to announce his trade crackdown.

“What’s been allowed to go on for decades is disgraceful,” Trump said.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 500 points within several hours.

Today the Dow Jones, tomorrow the nukes! Or a round of golf. One of those.

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