With the jobs report on Friday and the first round of presidential debates having happened on Tuesday, President Trump has been under immense scrutiny for his re-election. Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman joins The Final Round to discuss how the market will weigh in Trump’s positive coronavirus test result and what it means for the November elections.
SEANA SMITH: Welcome back to The Final Round. Well, President Trump testing positive for coronavirus. The stocks initially selling off on the news earlier today, but closing well off the lows of the day with the Dow up just around a half of a percent. Rick, there is so much to unpack here. But I think one of the big reasons for the bounce at least in the markets today was on the stimulus front and what President Trump's diagnosis could mean for a potential stimulus.
My question to you is do you think the diagnosis I guess it all changes the dynamics of the stimulus talks?
RICK NEWMAN: Well, Nancy Pelosi said that it does. She said exactly that, that it has changed the dynamics. Now, I don't believe her. I'll be honest about that. I think if investors think that, oh, suddenly, because Trump has been diagnosed with COVID-19, that this somehow makes the Democrats more willing to-- I don't know what, lower their number, come down on the amount of funding they're willing to accept, and get a deal done before election day? I just don't think so.
It may be-- what might be possible is some separate legislation that's very targeted and fairly small to help, for instance, the airline industry. I think we should take note that Nancy Pelosi today did single out the airline industry by saying, hold on a minute, don't do those thousands of furloughs that you have said you're going to do. Let's see if we can get something done.
I think it remains extremely unlikely that we're going to see a stimulus bill that's even at the Republicans' number-- the White House number, I should say, of $1.6 trillion. And as for the stock markets, I really don't think that Trump's COVID diagnosis affects the markets at all. I mean, you know, if you just work through the various scenarios, if Trump were actually incapacitated and Mike Pence had to take over as president, that's not a negative for markets.
You know, Pence is actually more of a traditional Republican than Trump is. And of course, this would happen right on the eve of the election. So, probably, that would favor Joe Biden. But I think the market is making peace with Joe Biden as president, if that's what happens, and even if Joe Biden is president with a Democratic senate and he can pass a lot of legislation. So there are a lot of bank shots here.
And I think everybody needs to keep in mind, this is going to unfold a lot more than it already has. And it's very hard to predict where it's going.
AKIKO FUJITA: Rick, you mentioned that you don't necessarily think this is going to change the game in terms of the conversation on stimulus from the Democratic standpoint. But I'm wondering, from the Republican standpoint, is there an argument to be made that they want to change the conversation here? We were talking about this earlier, that every day that goes by where we're focused on the coronavirus and the administration's response, that's not a good thing for the Trump campaign. Does that add motivation to Republicans who are saying, maybe we can turn it to the economy and say, look, we are moving it in the right direction?
RICK NEWMAN: You know, Akiko, it depends which Republicans you're talking about. I mean, this is another reason I think another stimulus bill is not going to happen. Is there still broad disagreement among Republicans about what the bill should be? So the White House-- I mean, it's obviously in President Trump's political interest to have the biggest stimulus bill possible now. Because that can only improve the economy leading up to election day. And frankly, it might even be too late for that. I mean, we're a month out at this point. And yet, the Republicans in the Senate are the ones who've been slow rolling this idea all along, indicating they might only be willing to accept half of what the White House is asking for or less.
Honestly, I don't get that. I mean, this is the weirdest thing that Republicans in the Senate all of a sudden are getting religion on, you know, fiscal spending, you know, a month before the election when they're poised to lose the majority? But it's just not-- you know, obviously they're focused on the Supreme Court nominee. And maybe it's just things are so chaotic in Washington that they can only do one thing at a time at this point. Plus, a lot of senators and members of House, they're leaving soon. Because most of them are up for re-election. So they have to go back home and campaign.
So again, I just don't see it happening, a stimulus bill.
SEANA SMITH: Hey, Rick, what do you think the campaign is going to look like over the next 31, [? 30 ?] days? Obviously, President Trump coming down with coronavirus, he can't make any in-person appearances at least for a couple of weeks. So what do you think just in terms of what we could expect and also the impact is going to be?
RICK NEWMAN: Well, the Biden campaign seems to be going ahead as if everything is normal. They seem not to have changed their plans at all. And there have been some calls on Joe Biden to suspend campaigning. Mostly, those are by Republicans. I don't know why he would do that. That doesn't really make any sense. I mean, it's not Biden's fault that Trump has now been diagnosed with COVID.
Trump's obviously got a problem. I mean, he cannot-- you know, even if he has a quick recovery and a complete recovery and he's back on the campaign trail in two weeks, let's say, he has lost crucial campaigning time. And voters are are just going to be wondering, what's up with Trump? And you know, there's no way he can escape the fact that he dismissed coronavirus and COVID-19 basically for all these months since going back to February, saying it would be over-- it would disappear by April, and it would be gone by Easter, it would disappear when it got warm. No one wears a White House at all his political-- wears a mask at the White House, political events, or at the rallies. And now, Trump comes down with COVID. I mean, this, without a doubt-- I mean, it's just going to color the rest of the election.
And frankly, it's just a statement of what a failure Trump's policies on COVID are. You know, it's possible some voters-- let's say he recovers. And he's back on the trail by election day. It's possible he could win some kind of sympathy vote from voters. But it's hard for me to believe there's anybody out there who's not already planning to vote for Trump that would vote for him now that he got infected with COVID.
SEANA SMITH: Yeah, well, we'll see over the next couple weeks. Well, once again, President Trump testing positive for coronavirus. In And the headlines crossing within the last hour that President Trump has been treated with a Regeneron antibody cocktail, that's according to his physician, that he's fatigued, but in good spirits. This, of course, is a story that we are going to keep on here at Yahoo--