The Margin: Stocks plunge, coronavirus spreads and Trump tweets image of himself playing fiddle with ominous message

Is President Donald Trump fiddling while the world burns?

In another era, Roman emperor Nero, according to ancient tradition, climbed to the top of his city walls and, in a familiar phrase, fiddled as Rome burned. While there are all sorts of questions surrounding what actually went down, the adage that rose from the legend is typically used to criticize someone for doing something trivial in the midst of some sort of crisis.

So Trump’s retweet of his social-media manager’s tweet showing him playing a fiddle couldn’t be more timely, considering the continued spread of the coronavirus and the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.98% is poised for a nasty selloff on Monday.

Here’s the retweet, in which Trump acknowledges that he is not sure exactly what Dan Scavino meant by “nothing can stop what’s coming”:

Trump supporters cheered the meme, of course, but his critics keyed into the ominous tone in light of current events and made “Nero” a trending topic on Twitter TWTR, -4.31% . The fact that Trump was golfing over the weekend only fueled the fire.

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