President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with the members of the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) WASHINGTON /February 26, 2018 (AP)(STL.News) —Judging from a recent tweet, President Donald Trump can’t be counted on to accurately reflect what he’s seeing on TV. His grasp of economic numbers is not always solid, either.
On the weekend, Trump botched a remark he heard on Fox News when he tweeted about it. On Monday, he misreported the pace of economic growth, though on this matter he was in the ballpark.
Here’s a look:
TRUMP, citing Fox News as he assailed Rep. Adam Schiff, lead author of a Democratic memo defending the FBI and Justice Department in the Russia investigation: “‘Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts’ @FoxNews So, what else is new. He is a total phony!”
THE FACTS: That’s not at all what Fox News said.
Fox anchor Molly Line said this while questioning a journalist about the Democratic memo and one released earlier from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee: “Congressman Schiff, he argues the Republican memo omitted and distorted key facts.” In Trump’s distorted telling Saturday evening, that became “Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts,” and he misattributed the quote to Fox News.
The anchor had accurately quoted Schiff’s position on the Republican memo. Trump twisted the remark into a commentary on the Democratic memo and its author. ___
TRUMP, addressing governors Monday: “We’ve done many other things, as you know, and I won’t go over them because I want to be hearing from you today. But many other things that, frankly, nobody thought possible. GDP: 3.2, 3, 3.”
THE FACTS: He cited three quarters of annualized growth of the gross domestic product and got one of them right. The correct percentages for each quarter last year are, in order, 1.2 percent, 3.1 percent, 3.2 percent and 2.6 percent. That fourth-quarter percentage is tentative and might still be adjusted. The first quarter encompassed Barack Obama‘s final weeks as president.
Overall, the U.S. economy grew by 2.3 percent last year, subject to possible adjustments in the fourth quarter. That’s an improvement from Obama’s final year, 1.5 percent in 2016, but below the best year of the Obama presidency, 2.9 percent in 2015.
Trump has set high — even sky high — expectations for GDP growth, saying late last year, “I see no reason why we don’t go to 4 percent, 5 percent, and even 6 percent.” Federal Reserve officials and most mainstream economists expect economic growth closer to 2 percent. The economy rarely achieves phenomenal growth approaching 6 percent.
He told the governors Monday: “I think we’re going to have another really big one coming up this current quarter. Maybe a number that nobody would have thought would ever be hit.” Forecasts for the current January-March quarter are all over the map, but they have fallen recently. Sales of new and existing homes fell in January and Americans slowed their spending at retail stores that month.
Macroeconomic Advisers, an economic consulting firm, on Monday forecast growth of 1.9 percent in the first quarter.
By CALVIN WOODWARD by Associated Press – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC (US)