Opinion

Opinion | Margery Eagan

Finally, a crack in Donald Trump’s chintzy armor

President Trump during a working dinner with European business leaders last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images/File
President Trump during a working dinner with European business leaders last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

HERE’S HOW BAD it is.

When the stock market plunged last week, I was perversely pleased, willing to risk my 401(k) if it meant embarrassing Donald Trump for just one day.

Have to work five extra years? Ten years? Forever?

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I’d come in on a walker had it been a game changer in Ohio — when Trump was bragging about his tax cuts and his economy and, suddenly, the news crawl at the bottom of the TV screen screeched, “Dow Plummets Nearly 1,000 Points!”

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I’d come in from the grave had the stock plunge meant the beginning of the end. The Dow bounces more than 300 points Friday, reported CNBC, “but still posts the worst week in two years.”

What a satisfying week it was.

That’s demented, you say? Un-American? Pathetic?

Well, I’ll tell you this: I’m not alone.

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“I’d work 17 extra years and throw in my house,” said Monique Paturel, one of many Never Trumpers who e-mailed my radio show saying a financial hit would be worth derailing Trump.

“Nothing traitorous in saying I’d rather see Trump taken down, even if it means 8 more years of working,” e-mailed Sean. “I’ll take the loss.”

Said Maureen, “Sean Hannity is already saying this is Obama’s fault.”

Or Hillary’s.

Or perhaps: the FBI’s?

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Meanwhile, the Twitter-verse was in full mocking mode.

Republican strategist and writer Rick Wilson: “Impossible. I was very clearly told that Donald Trump has completely turned around the economy and that the stock market would rise forever.”

Parody account Rogue Betty: “Donald Trump: ‘I hardly knew the Dow, it was merely a coffee boy.’ ”

President Trump, unlike most of his predecessors, has claimed full credit for the stock market, pumped its rise relentlessly — 23 times last month alone — and tweeted about it at least 60 times since his election.

“The world was gloomy before I won,” he said. “There was no hope.”

But now?

“Six trillion dollars in value created,” he said. Then seven trillion. Then eight.

“The stock market has smashed one record after another,” he tweeted, “since our big election win!”

He’s taken credit, too, for increased 401(k)s — the ones “Crooked” Hillary would have surely driven into the ground.

We all know the line: You live by the Dow, you die by the Dow.

But now the Dow is dithering. What does the president say about it? Basically, nothing. Nada. Crickets. Suddenly, says Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it’s all about “long-term economic fundamentals.” And Teflon Trump seems not embarrassed, not a teeny, tiny bit. He emerges unscathed, as he does from every fiasco. The popularity of his tax plan has nearly doubled. His poll numbers have inched up.

And we all move on to another wild-and-woolly, anything-goes White House week. Trump trashing the Russian hoax. Chief of Staff John Kelly trashing Dreamers as “too lazy to get off their asses” while praising the integrity of his right-hand guy, an accused serial wife abuser.

And the Pentagon is planning Trump’s Moscow-style military parade — tanks, howitzers, and rocket launchers rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. Bigger than anything anybody anywhere has ever seen before.

The bouncing Dow faded into history, but not for all of us. No. For a few brief shining moments last week, as CNN’s Dow Watch careened madly — up 8, down 12, up 17, then 25 — some of us thought we spied a crack in the armor. The big black blanket over our heads — could this really go on for six more years? — lifted just a bit. We contemplated how much cash we could lose. It seemed more than worth it for some peace, quiet, normalcy, reclaimed national dignity, and a stretch of days free of breaking news alerts, infighting, backstabbing, and international humiliation.

It felt so fine.

Here’s hoping we can keep on feeling it.

Margery Eagan is cohost of WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio.”