US President Donald Trump celebrated stock market gains and progress toward coronavirus vaccines in hastily arranged remarks at the White House on Tuesday that lasted barely more than one minute.
He took no questions from reporters.
“I want to congratulate everybody,” Trump said. “The stock market, Dow Jones Industrial Average just hit 30,000, the highest in history. We’ve never broken 30,000 and that’s despite everything that’s taken place with the pandemic.”
The benchmark stock index hit a new record Tuesday after Trump’s administration agreed to begin a formal transition to Joe Biden’s presidency. Trump didn’t mention the election, the transition or Biden in his remarks.
Reporters were provided only a few minutes’ warning to gather for the event. It was only the president’s fifth public appearance in the 20 days since the election, and the first since he said Monday he had instructed the General Services Administration to begin the transition.
Trump has treated the stock market as a barometer of his own success as president, claiming credit for all gains since his election in 2016. Trump on Tuesday actually undersold his record. It’s the ninth time this year the Dow hit a record high and the 117th time in his presidency, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Trump also claimed repeatedly during the campaign that a Biden victory would tank markets and lead to an “economic disaster on the scale of the Great Depression of 1929.”
“If he’s elected, the stock market will crash,” Trump said during his final debate with Biden on Oct. 23. On Tuesday, he called the 30,000 mark a “sacred number for the Dow.” “That’s been absolutely incredible,” Trump said. “Nothing like that has ever happened, medically, and I think people are acknowledging that.”
Trump then left the podium as quickly as he had appeared, ignoring reporters who shouted questions at him, demanding to know when he’ll concede his defeat to Biden.
On Monday, Trump tweeted that he would allow his administration to “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols” because he believed it was “in the best interest of our country,” but reiterated his belief that his various legal challenges to the election outcome would ultimately keep him in the White House.
His legal team has so far had no success persuading judges that alleged irregularities in the election demand that thousands of votes for Biden be thrown out across several states.