Donald Trump has repeatedly bragged about the high rate of job growth and low unemployment rate during his presidency but struggled to come up with an answer on Sunday when asked why these rates were all better when Barack Obama was president.
Trump was pressed during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press in which host Chuck Todd pointed out to the president that the economy was growing at a better rate during the end of Obama’s presidency.
“But this recovery started and in the 28 months that you’ve been president and the last 28 months of Obama’s presidency, he averaged more new jobs than your first 28,” Todd said, via the Independent.
Trump then struggled through a series of varying explanations, first saying that Obama started with a “bad base” and then claiming that despite the fact that the economic growth is a continuation of what started under Obama, things were still a “disaster” under Obama.
“Yeah, but Chuck, you have to understand, nobody was working,” Trump said.
“The whole place was a disaster. And I don’t – I’d never take that away.”
Trump went on to claim that his economy is “phenomenal,” saying it might be the best in the history of the country. He then said that the economy was “ready to collapse” when he inherited the White House from Barack Obama.
Todd pushed back.
“I just showed you the numbers. It was not ready to collapse,” Todd said.
Trump responded by saying that while unemployment numbers were doing well at the end of Obama’s presidency, things like GDP, jobs, and “optimism” were much worse.
But many economic experts have pushed back against Trump’s assessment of GDP under Obama compared to his presidency. MarketWatch columnist Rex Nutting noted that Trump pumped everything he had into the economy to spur growth, including tax cuts and a huge increase in government spending.
Still, Trump fell short of his stated goal of 3 percent annual growth — so the White House switched to a different way to measure growth, opting for year-over-year. Even under this different measure, Obama’s economy performed better, Nutting noted.
“Unfortunately for the pro-Trump spin machine, the best year-over-year growth in Obama’s presidency (3.8% from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015) is higher than the best year-over-year growth under Trump (3.1% from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018),” he wrote.
Does Trump Deserve Credit For the Economy? The Numbers Say No. https://t.co/nn72JyiUbH
— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) June 23, 2019
Experts believe that the state of the economy could be a major factor, possibly the deciding factor, in whether Donald Trump is able to win re-election in 2020.