Six months into the presidency of Donald Trump, "it is not clear where this is going to go in terms of the economy," said Bob Woodward, author and associate editor of The Washington Post, at Pensions & Investments' Global Future of Retirement conference in New York on Monday.
"He could do some things that would damage the economy immensely very quickly," said Mr. Woodward, who added that he hopes top economic advisers and Goldman Sachs alumni Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin "are going to look out for the economy and the markets."
Unlike other presidents that he has covered since starting at The Washington Post in 1971, Mr. Woodward said: "It is easier to describe the creation of the universe. The conventional wisdom doesn't work with Trump." While Mr. Woodward said that successful politics is about coalition building, Mr. Trump told him in a pre-election interview that "real power is fear."
"That's Trump," Mr. Woodward said. "He has moved the needle on the country's behavior and the world's behavior. Trump is a disrupter. … Trump does everything his own way and often revises it."
With increasing instability in the world, Mr. Trump's policies on the economy, Russia and China remain unknown, Mr. Woodward said.
Another concern is the level of secrecy in government, Mr. Woodward said. "We don't know enough about what's going on in our government. And it gets worse. People in power have more power. And when you have a president whose philosophy is fear, (journalists and consumers of media) have to work harder."