President Donald Trump accused Democrats Tuesday of running a strategy to drive the nation into recession, as he amplified claims from his allies that the economy is stronger under his leadership.
In a morning tweet storm which came as White House officials discussed how to stimulate the economy at the same time as Trump is denying a recession is looming, he retweeted Mike Pence, his campaign manager and three favored media allies – Geraldo Riviera and Jesse Watters of Fox News and Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business network.
One credited Trump with ‘super human energy,’ and pushed his own claim that Democrats are trying to drive the country into recession to beat him in 2020.
Manufacturing optimism is up and unemployment is down, he and GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel argued in tweets.
Trump seconded his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who proclaimed in a message, ‘The liberal media is so deranged by President [Donald Trump] that they’re now cheering for the economy to tank – sorry to disappoint Democrats, but the economy has never been stronger!’
And the tweetstorm pointedly included praise for the economy in Michigan from vice president Mike Pence, who was traveling there Tuesday, on the day that U.S. Steel was revealed to be laying off hundreds and shuttering blast furnaces.
Tweet storm of praise: Trump turned to Twitter for backers of his claim that warnings of a recession are being driven by a desire to remove him from office
U.S. Steel – whose renaissance has been a key part of the Trump narrative – said it would lay off 200 workers and idle two blast furnaces for at least six months at Great Lakes and Gary Works plants, citing lower steel prices and softening demand.
The layoffs were characterized as temporary in filings, over a softening in the market and reduced steel prices, but the company admitted they could last longer than six months, in another indicator that the U.S. economy is slowing down.
Michigan is critical to Trump’s re-election prospects after the shock victory there played a key part in putting him in the White House.
In more bad news for Trump, a top lender, JP Morgan Chase assessed that Trump’s tariffs on China will cost American consumers $1,000 a household.
Despite Trump’s bravado on social media and previous bullish public comments, his White House spokesman Hogan Gidley confirmed talks were under way on some form of stimulus.
He denied only a specific report that the measure bring considered a payrool tax cut and told Fox News: ‘It’s not being considered at this time but he’s looking at all options out there to try and give people back so much of the hard earned money they’ve made.’
A Washington Post report had cited sources at the White House said the administration was considering a temporary cut to the 6.2 percent tax to prevent a downturn.
The suggestion was modeled after a two percent slash Obama made in his first term, which expired in 2013 as job growth ticked up again.
Trump and his aides have now spent days denying publicly that a recession is on the horizon and the U.S. needs to take action. The president said Sunday that he’s ‘prepared’ to counteract one, though, if a financial downturn takes the country by surprise.
He accused his political opponents of trying to bring down the United States’ economy to hurt his reelection chances on Monday, as his administration tried to put out a wildfire of claims that a recession might be on the way.
Trump said that economy is doing well despite ‘very selfish’ political angling of Democrats on a mission to oust him from the White House.
‘Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to “will” the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election. Very Selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world,’ he tweeted.
On the spot: Donald Trump and his aides have now spent days denying that a recession is looming
Trump said that economy is doing well despite ‘very selfish’ political angling of Democrats, who are on a mission to oust him from the White House
Trump added, ‘The Fed Rate, over a fairly short period of time, should be reduced by at least 100 basis points, with perhaps some quantitative easing as well. If that happened, our Economy would be even better, and the World Economy would be greatly and quickly enhanced-good for everyone!’
Last week, the president accused the media of ‘doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.’
He blamed a wide array of third parties, including Joe Biden and the Hong Kong protesters, of scuttling a trade deal with Beijing that would help both countries’ economies.
Trump’s economic team had been out in full force over the weekend denying that a recession is on the horizon and that it would be caused by or worsened by the president’s never-ending tariffs on China.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 250 points from it’s Friday close at 26,151.10 points as of Monday afternoon and holding steady following the media blitz.
On Sunday night the president said he doesn’t ‘see a recession’ on the horizon, although he’ll be prepared if one hits the U.S. while he’s in office.
‘I’m prepared for everything. I don’t think we’re having a recession. We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they’re loaded up with money,’ he said.
He said that revenues from companies like Walmart are a better indicator of economic health than surveys or economic analysts’ predictions.
‘And most economists actually say,’ he claimed, ‘that we’re not going to have a recession. Most of them are saying we’re not going to have a recession.’
‘And our consumer is really, really strong, and it looks like they’re going to be for a long time. Also, when you go in and analyze the curve, the curve always means that about two years later maybe you’ll go in. That’s a long time — two years. But I don’t think so.’
He concluded that while ‘interest rates are low’ he could be ‘helped out by the Fed, but the Fed doesn’t like helping me too much’ in an insinuation that the banking institution is also trying to hamstring him.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that there will be a recession at some point. But he quibbled with data predicting one is on the way, saying it’s not the most reliable predictor of a downturn.
Trump suggested Sunday that Jay Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman, is out to get him
‘Look, eventually there’ll be a recession, but this inversion is not as reliable in my view as people think. Anything that takes 22 months to affect the economy and in some cases the inversion has taken that. That’s a long ways and a lot of the variables come in during 22 month period. Beyond which, normally inversions have occurred in the period of tightening money, tightening credit. And availability of credit is the biggest problem,’ he said.
The presidential election is in less than 15 months, meaning a financial crisis could emerge just as voters are deciding whether to keep Trump in office, by Ross’ own account.
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said in a Fox News appearance later in the morning that the term recession is ‘Sesame’s Grover word of the day,’ in response to a montage of network journalists using the word in broadcasts.
‘I think what’s changed is that the two and a half years of the collusion hunt and the Mueller Report were a big dud, and so now they’re searching around and they’re trying to — they’re trying to burrow into the president’s number one issue in the polls,’ she argued.
‘He has a majority of Americans approving the way he’s handling the economy. That hasn’t changed over time, so they need to go right at the fundamentals.’
She emphasized several minutes later that Trump does best in voters surveys when it comes to the economy as she accused journalists of ignoring the economy when the numbers are good for the White House.
National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow and trade director Peter Navarro and claimed on every major Sunday morning show that a recession is not coming.
‘I sure don’t see a recession,’ said Kudlow on NBC. ‘We had some blockbuster retail sales, consumer numbers towards the back end of last week. Really blockbuster numbers. And in fact, despite a lot of worries with the volatile stock market, most economists on Wall Street towards the end of the week had been marking up their forecasts for the third and fourth quarter. That echoes our view.’
He insisted, ‘Consumers are working at higher wages. They are spending at a rapid pace. They’re actually saving also while they’re spending. That’s an ideal situation. So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.’
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway called it ‘Sesame’s Grover word of the day — recession’ on Fox News, in response to a montage of journalists using the word
Kudlow told Chuck Todd in the interview on ‘Meet the Press’ that economic indicators remain favorable.
‘We’re doing pretty darn well in my judgment. Let’s not be afraid of optimism. Let’s not be afraid of optimism,’ he said.
The former CNBC host had to issue a mea culpa to Todd for predicting there wouldn’t be one before the 2008 financial crisis. However, he argued that he was one of many analysts who got it wrong and that the shifted that opinion months before the economy bottomed out.
‘I don’t know that anybody saw that kind of crash. But, look, this is not then. This is not then. Our banks are well capitalized. Our financial system’s in very good shape. And I must say the president is transforming and rebuilding this economy,’ he said.
Kudlow said the Fed’s decision to lower interest rates would be a ‘big help’ to keeping the nation’s economic drivers from stalling again.
‘And I think the Federal Reserve is going to now be following through, lower interest rates at the low end, because the bond rates have fallen and that’s the way that game usually works. And I think that’s going to be a big help,’ he asserted.
The president flat-out denied on Sunday night as he returned from vacation that his trade war with China was putting America’s economy at risk.
He asserted that the ‘world is in a recession right now’ then walked the claim back, only applying it to China.
‘I don’t see a recession. I mean, the world is in a recession right now. And — although, that’s too big a statement. But if you look at China, China is doing very, very poorly,’ he said. ‘They’ve had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years because of what I’ve done. And they want to come to the negotiating table.’
He insisted yet again that American consumers are ‘not paying for the tariffs’ that he has on $250 billion of Chinese goods, so far, and said he’s reconsidering a plan to put tariffs on laptops and cells phones in December.
Trump admitted he’d been persuaded to rethink the tariffs, which he delayed last week until Dec. 15, after a conversation with Apple’s Tim Cook.
‘And, you know, one of the things — and he made a good case — is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they’re based in South Korea. And it’s tough for Apple to pay tariffs if they’re competing with a very good company that’s not,’ he said.
‘And I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I’m thinking about it.’