President Trump's bad mood is allegedly responsible for what is snowballing into a full-blown trade war, officials told NBC News on Friday. One insider said Trump had become "unglued" when he made the unplanned announcement about tariffs at a meeting Wednesday. The president's comments have since provoked retaliatory threats from the European Union and Canada, and earned an expression of "grave concern" from China.
Trump, the two officials said, was angry and gunning for a fight, and he chose a trade war, spurred on by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, the White House director for trade. ... There were no prepared, approved remarks for the president to give at the planned meeting, there was no diplomatic strategy for how to alert foreign trade partners, there was no legislative strategy in place for informing Congress, and no agreed upon communications plan ... No one at the State Department, the Treasury Department, or the Defense Department had been told that a new policy was about to be announced or given an opportunity to weigh in in advance. [NBC News]
Trump's fury apparently stemmed from the ongoing chaos in his administration, including scandals surrounding son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, as well as outgoing communications director Hope Hicks' recent testimony in the Russia investigation. "After a crazy 24 hours, sources close to President Trump say he is in a bad place — mad as hell about the internal chaos and the sense that things are unraveling," Axios wrote Thursday.