He can't actually force companies to do what he wants.
Trump responded Friday to growing evidence that his trade war is failing and damaging the country by issuing an "order" on Twitter for American companies to help him.
"Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China," Trump wrote. The declaration came in the middle of a multi-tweet rant about negative economic actions by China over the years.
"I am ordering all carriers, including Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS and the Post Office, to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!)," he added.
The rant has no legal weight. Trump has often made policy declarations via Twitter, only to have them ignored by underlings who simply wait for him to be distracted by something else.
The rant did, however, have an immediate effect on the stock market, where the Dow dropped 400 points after the series of tweets. The S&P 500 was down 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.7%.
Trump's imperial-sounding decree came as China announced on Friday another round of tariffs on American goods, affecting $75 billion in trade.
It was the latest indication that Trump is losing the trade war he initiated against the advice of many economists and policy experts.
In a recent survey, 74% of economists from the National Association for Business Economics predicted a recession by the end of 2021, with many laying blame for an economic slowdown on Trump's trade war.
This month, four major banks — Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and UBS — also warned that the trade war could be a major contributor to a coming recession.
Instead of taking serious action, Trump and his team have attacked the media and the Federal Reserve, especially its chairman, Jerome Powell.
"The threats always been out there but there’s been no need to provoke that," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. "It’s almost like the administration was expecting the Fed to announce a rate cut at the Jackson hole meeting. And since Powell did not deliver, he went to defcon 5."
Now social media decrees have been added to the presidential arsenal while his trade war continues to be lost.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.