As a retiree, I pay attention to the stock market, since most of my retirement depends on investments. I have watched carefully the radical swings characterizing the Trump administration’s economic policies. It doesn’t take a genius to predict which way the market is going to swing after one of his morning tweets trumpeting his unparalleled ability—as everybody knows—to negotiate trade deals with China, et al.
If I could have foreknowledge of one of Trump’s trade-deal tweets, I would know when to sell and buy, significantly profiting from this knowledge. If I had known, say, at noon on May 4th that the President was going to tweet his intent to escalate the trade war with China, I might have sold 20-30% of my stocks and held them until I would receive similar foreknowledge that he would be tweeting two weeks later that he was about to seal the deal with China, at which point, I would re-invested before his tweets hit the morning market.
Trump’s convoluted business practices suggest that he is fully aware of how he and others could profit from his tweets. To mitigate the monumental losses the self-declared genius piled up in the 80s (and 90s), he posed as a corporate raider by widely publicizing his intention to buy enough stocks to become a majority owner of specific firms, disproportionately driving up the price of those stocks; he would then dump the 3 or 4% of stocks he had actually purchased, gaining millions and leaving those duped by his game holding the bag (NYTimes, “Decade in the Red”). Although not legally fraudulent, this pump and dump practice is a well-known scam.
One could argue that his entire presidency might be more of the same, pumping himself up and leaving the nation holding the bag. Disregarding the possibility of my suggestion being more than a metaphor, we might suspect that he is similarly using his office to manipulate the stock market so that he, his family, and close friends can benefit from the radical market gyrations that have marked his presidency, opening them up to charges of insider trading. In my worst moments, I imagine that President Trump may be engaging in these tweeting practices not only to distract from other issues plaguing his presidency but also to profit from dramatic stock market swings. I wonder, consequently, whether anyone in Congress has opened an investigation into the possibility of insider trading practices. I have written to Senators Kane and Warner and Representative Cline, asking them to pursue an SEC investigation of insider trading among the Trump family and Administration. I urge readers to support this request by calling their senators and representatives.
My suggestion of illegal practices on the part of the President and his associates may sound cynical, but I think our President is in a large part responsible for the cloud that has spread across our country, making me and others suspect that he might be illegally profiting from his position.