For almost three years, the world has wondered how Donald Trump would handle a moment of genuine crisis.
Every US president has to face that moment at some point. Barack Obama had the fallout from the Global Financial Crisis. George W. Bush had the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Mr Trump's presidency often feels like its own unending crisis, as it lurches from one overwrought controversy to another. There are always more people to offend; more feuds to settle; more reasons for Mr Trump's opponents to melt down.
But those self-made political crises are an illusion.
For 31 months, the sheer loudness of Mr Trump's presidency has masked his relatively easy ride in the job. There have been no major economic shocks or immediate international threats. Nothing, in other words, to properly test his mettle.
That changed this week. As American journalist Joel Mathis put it, Mr Trump's moment "finally arrived".
In fact, all his crises appear to be coming at once.
The first is economic.
The US stock market suffered its worst day of the year this week, plummeting 800 points and sparking fears of an impending recession.
Even more worryingly, the US Treasury yield curve temporarily inverted, with two-year yields surpassing those of 10-year bonds for the first time since June of 2007.
That might sound like a bunch of finance technobabble gibberish. And it is that. But it's also a deeply ominous development — one that has often preceded recessions in the past.
Mr Trump's response to the apparent slowing of his economy has been to shift the blame elsewhere, particularly onto America's central bank and its "clueless" chairman Jay Powell.
"Jay Powell should be cutting rates. Every country all over the world is cutting. We want to stay sort of even. I don't mind if we're higher, but we're way too high," Mr Trump said on Thursday.
"Jay Powell has made a big mistake. He raised them too fast, and he also quantitative tightened, did quantitative tighten, that was a big mistake."
Last month the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since the recession in 2008, having raised them seven times throughout 2017 and 2018.
We should probably point out that Mr Powell was appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve by none other than Donald Trump.
Mr Trump has also blamed the media for supposedly talking down the economy to hurt his chances of winning next year's presidential election.
"The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election. The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on trade," he said.
That last word, trade, really is at the heart of the matter.
Mr Trump's ongoing trade war with China and his threats to impose tariffs on other US trade partners have fostered huge uncertainty in global markets.
The President would never admit such a thing in public, but we did witness the slightest of signs he was acknowledging it privately this week when he decided to delay new tariffs on Chinese goods, "just in case" they would have an impact on American Christmas shoppers.
Mr Trump once said trade wars were "good and easy to win". His willingness — or otherwise — to de-escalate the trade war with China could be the decisive factor in warding off an economic catastrophe.
The other steadily building crisis on Mr Trump's plate also involves China.
On Thursday he told reporters he was "concerned" about the Chinese potentially cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. He urged President Xi Jinping to sit down and negotiate directly with the protesters.
"We'll be speaking to him very soon. I really believe he can work it out. I know him well. If he wants to he can work that out in a very humane fashion," Mr Trump said.
Thousands of Chinese military personnel have massed in Shenzhen, just across the bay from Hong Kong, and the country's ambassador to London warned China would not "sit by and watch" when it had "enough solutions and enough power to quell the unrest swiftly".
A military crackdown would obviously have huge ramifications, both economically and politically, for the rest of the world.
Mr Trump's language has firmed throughout the week after he was initially accused of being too deferential towards China.
Politico reports he had previously told Mr Xi that Hong Kong was an "internal issue" for China and the United States "would not interfere".
This is a diplomatic challenge far beyond anything else Mr Trump has dealt with since taking office. It would be enough to command the undivided attention of many presidents.
Mr Trump, however, has proven himself to be quite the multitasker.
Even with those two hugely consequential challenges in front of him, the President continued to focus much of his energy on personal feuds this week — particularly the one with his former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.
You might remember Mr Scaramucci for being spectacularly fired just 11 days into his job at the White House in 2017. He has since transformed from a staunch defender of Mr Trump to one of his highest profile critics.
The President doesn't like it one bit.
"Scaramucci, who like so many others had nothing to do with my election victory, is only upset that I didn't want him back in the administration, where he desperately wanted to be. Also, I seldom had time to return his many calls to me. He just wanted to be on TV!" Mr Trump tweeted.
"Anthony Scaramucci, who was quickly terminated (11 days) from a position that he was totally incapable of handling, now seems to do nothing but television as the all time expert on 'President Trump'. Like many other so-called television experts, he knows very little about me other than the fact that this administration has probably done more than any other administration in its first two-and-a-half years of existence.
"Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV, and it's not for being the Mooch!"
The President also took time out of his presumably busy schedule to attack "wacko comedian Bill Maher", MSNBC morning news show host Mika Brzezinski, who he called a "very angry psycho wife", and "world class loser" Tim O'Brien (a finance reporter and author).
The world wondered how Mr Trump would react to a crisis. At the moment, he seems to be escalating his petty arguments on Twitter.
It might be time for him to take the presidency more seriously.
This article was first published on news.com.au.