Wishful Thinking and Denial

In early March, investors were panicking at the prospect of a prolonged national emergency. Airline travel collapsed. Unemployment claims leapt. By the end of the month’s first week, stock markets were down nearly 20 percent from their high.

The next week got off to an even worse start, with stock markets plunging another 8 percent on Monday, March 9.

That afternoon, Mr. Mnuchin joined Mr. Trump and his coronavirus task force at the White House. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, delivered grim news: The virus was spreading in the United States at an exponential rate.

“There’s big trouble coming,” Mr. Mnuchin said to Mr. Kudlow as they left the room.

“I’m afraid you’re right,” Mr. Kudlow agreed.

The next day, Mr. Trump spoke about the virus on Capitol Hill. “Just stay calm,” he urged. “It will go away.”
- James B. Stewart and Alan Rappeport, Steven Mnuchin Tried to Save the Economy. Not Even His Family Is Happy., NYT, Aug. 30, 2020

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