President Donald Trump on Thursday baselessly accused the press of trying to tank the American economy, shrugging off any blame for a prospective economic slowdown and possible recession heading into his reelection next year.
“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,” he said in a tweet. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”
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The president offered no evidence to support his claim that the media, a frequent target of his ire, is working to weaken the U.S. economy.
Trump and his allies have signaled that the president intends to run on his economic record next year, hoping that record-low levels of unemployment and sustained growth building on recovery from the 2008 recession will persuade voters otherwise turned off by his more controversial policies and rhetoric to nonetheless cast their ballot for him.
Trump’s outburst comes after the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst day of the year on Wednesday, sliding 800 points after one economic measure that has reliably preceded the last five recessions triggered alarm bells on Wall Street.
The White House has shrugged off concerns that another recession is looming, pointing to a strong jobs market and continued wage growth and echoing Trump’s rhetoric that the U.S. is not on a level playing field when it comes to monetary or trade policy.
Despite the Trump administration’s insistence that the strong economy is on track to continue, many economists have warned of the potential of a recession amid a global economic slowdown. The president’s trade war with China and his threats to level tariffs on other U.S. allies and trade partners have created uncertainty in global markets and contributed to lower spending by businesses.
Late last month, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since the 2008 recession, a step the president had hammered the central bank for not taking earlier, and is set to slash them at least once more this year. That the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates again is seen by some as yet another warning of potential economic turmoil.
But despite widespread talk of a potential economic downturn, the stock market began to rebound Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing slightly by mid-afternoon. The federal government, too, offered good news, reporting that consumer spending exceeded expectations last month.