The Dow dropped nearly 3,000 points, and the S&P 500 fell about 12% Monday — the largest drop since 1987’s “Black Monday” — despite the Fed cutting interest rates to near zero. Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the stock market turmoil is a “great investment opportunity” for long-term investment. A reporter asked Trump Monday if the economy was headed toward a recession.
President Donald Trump: “Well, it may be. We’re not thinking in terms of recession. We’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent-up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy. And once this goes away, once it goes through and we’re done with it, I think you’re going to see a tremendous, a tremendous surge.”
In Greece, a child was killed by a fire at an overcrowded migrant camp on the island of Lesbos Monday. The girl was believed to be around 6 or 7 years old. The cause of the fire has not been confirmed. The Moria camp, which has a capacity of less than 3,000 people, is now housing over 19,000 refugees. Doctors Without Borders urged Greece on Sunday to immediately evacuate refugees living in overcrowded camps because of fears the coronavirus would quickly spiral out of control if it reached the camps.
In Israel, President Reuven Rivlin has asked former army chief and head of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz to form a new government, in the latest blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s Likud party received more votes than Gantz in this month’s election, but Gantz received endorsements from enough lawmakers to narrowly hold majority support.
The U.S. is pulling out of several key bases in Iraq amid heightened tensions in the region. Two Americans and one Briton were killed and over a dozen others injured in a rocket attack on the Taji military base near Baghdad last week. The U.S. responded by launching retaliatory airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia sites, and on Saturday, rockets struck a base housing U.S. troops. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Monday the U.S. would take self-defensive action if attacked.
The New York Times is reporting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators have been privately contacting conservative federal judges to urge them to retire, so they can be replaced while Republicans still control the Senate and Trump is in the White House. Over 90 Republican-nominated judges would be eligible for “senior status,” which opens up their spots on the bench while allowing them to keep hearing cases and receive full pay. Trump has appointed over 180 federal judges since coming into office — including around 50 appeals court judges, which amounts to nearly one-quarter of all federal appeals court judges.
In Missouri, a gunman opened fire at a gas station convenience store, killing five people, including himself. A police officer was also among the dead. The identity and the motive of the shooter have not yet been revealed.
In Maryland, the Senate voted unanimously to pass a bill providing $580 million to the state’s four historically black colleges and universities over 10 years. The legislation was already approved in the Maryland House. The legislation is part of a settlement in a lawsuit that alleges Maryland consistently discriminated against and underfunded HBCUs .