Upbeat Trump Says Great Economy Will Bring Back Civility
Chief executive is optimistic about the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, believes Republicans will do better than expected
Good times should make for good moods, even among people who are as deeply divided politically as Americans seem to be three weeks before a midterm election that Democrats and Republicans agree is critically important, according to President Donald Trump.
“I really think the economy is going to bring people together because people are doing better now. African-American unemployment, the best ever. Asian-American, Hispanic-American, women, everything, every category,” Trump said during an interview Tuesday on Fox Business Network’s “Trish Regan Primetime.”
“I mean, whether you look at median income, whether you look at employment, or unemployment, no matter what chart you’re looking at, it’s either ever, or 50 or 60 years, the best. The best numbers. It’s probably the best economy we’ve ever had,” Trump told host Trish Regan (pictured above right).
The good economy and the intense disgust among Republicans over Democrats’ attacks on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh have produced a heightened level of enthusiasm among his supporters, Trump said.
“I think we’re going to do really well and I, look — I don’t want to make predictions. I know that my poll numbers are terrific, although if you watch certain cable stations they try and make them look less than they are,” he said.
“But we have great poll numbers; we have tremendous turnout at these rallies. Thousands and thousands of people more than we can hold, in every case. There’s no case where that doesn’t happen.”
Trump added: “There’s enthusiasm like we had at the last election, 2016, which was quite a spectacular day and evening. I think we have a lot of enthusiasm. You know, I keep hearing about the enthusiasm, the blue wave.”
“But I think we have tremendous enthusiasm,” he said. “I think Justice Kavanaugh, the way he was treated — he’s an outstanding human being, an outstanding man of great accomplishment, and the way those Democrat senators treated him was horrible, was horrible, by any standard.”
Trump expressed great confidence in Republican voters, saying, “We have a tremendous, powerful base: the Republican Party. And they have to know that going out for the midterms is very important.”
“It’s almost like going out for the 2020 election that’s coming up in the not-too-distant future. Isn’t that incredible that we’re already talking about that? But there’s tremendous enthusiasm for that, tremendous. And I really think, again, this tremendous enthusiasm for the midterms, we’ll see. We’ll see.”
The president acknowledged that historically the party of first-term presidents typically loses seats in Congress, but he thinks the expanding economy is a decisively mitigating factor.
“We have a greatest economy that we’ve ever had. And numbers just came out today about job openings and everything else. I mean it’s incredible, record numbers. So there’s never been a president with this,” he said.
Asked by Regan how he would respond to critics on the Left who claim the present boom was produced by the policies of President Barack Obama in 2009 following the Great Recession of 2008, Trump said the economy would be back in a no-growth mode.
“If the opposition got into office instead of me, they were going to put more rules and regulations in. They were going to do things with taxes that would have been a disaster. Raise taxes. They were all going to raise taxes,” Trump said.
“If the opposition got into office instead of me, they were going to put more rules and regulations in. They were going to do things with taxes that would have been a disaster. Raise taxes.”
“They were going to do many other things. So we had 4.2 [percent economic growth] in the last month, last quarter, and everybody said that’s impossible because the most you can go is 2, and you know, very slowly, but it would never be up to that number. We had 4.2.”
Trump said Obama “didn’t even help. We had the slowest recovery in history, or I guess, since the Depression, since the Great Depression, and we were heading down. Take a look at the early numbers, like the early numbers, or the late numbers for him, we were heading down: 1 percent GDP. We were going down, and we were going down fast.”
Asked about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ future, Trump declined to say what he plans, but he repeated his oft-stated anger with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia collusion investigation.
“I’m not going to tell you that. We’ll see what happens. But I think it was a disgrace. And, by the way, my enemies, people that are on the other side, say for him to have taken the job, and for him to immediately have recused himself, is a disgrace. They say Trump is right about that,” Trump said.
He also repeated his belief that the Russia collusion investigation was the Democrats’ response to losing the 2016 presidential election.
“This was the Democrats’ losing the Electoral College, which they should have won easily. I had to run the whole east coast. They lost, and they come up with this excuse — we lost because of, let’s see, Russia, yeah, Russia. I didn’t make one call to Russia — the whole thing is so disgraceful. So it continues. It’s a witch hunt. It’s nothing more than a witch hunt.”
The intensity of Trump’s anger toward his attorney general was absolutely clear as he said, “Jeff Sessions should have never let it happen, he should have never recused himself. I mean here’s a man who recused himself. Why wouldn’t you say, ‘I’m going to recuse myself’? I wouldn’t put him in that position.”
On the issue of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump maintained his insistence that canceling a $110 billion arms sale from the U.S. to the Middle Eastern power is not the way to respond to the situation.
“We have senators and congressmen say, oh, they did that, we should punish them by not selling them equipment. Well, if we don’t sell the equipment, they’ll buy lesser-quality equipment because we make it so much better than anybody else,” he said.
“But they’ll buy it from Russia, they’ll buy it from China. So we’re not really hurting them, we’re hurting ourselves. We want to be smart. I don’t want to give up a $110 billion order or whatever it is. It’s the largest order ever given by an outside country, OK? And I don’t want to give that up. You’re talking about jobs.”
“What I’m doing is, we’ve created an incredible economy. I want Boeing, and I want Lockheed, and I want Raytheon, to take those orders and to hire lots of people to make that incredible equipment.”
Trump also made clear his unhappiness with recent anti-inflation financial regulatory moves by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell, especially his efforts to nudge interest rates upward.
“You know, when they try and compare what I’m doing with Obama, Obama was working off zero interest rates. I’m working off real interest rates, almost normal interest rates. That’s a big difference, and my numbers are much better.”
“But you take a look, you can’t compare zero — give me zero interest rates right now. And you take a look at our numbers. It would be the greatest economy in the history of the world. Nobody would be able to compete with it.”
“We’re paying a lot of interest, and I think we’re paying too much, to be honest with you. But still, it was so strong, and he’s doing it because the economy is so good, because the economy is so strong. So we’ll see how that all works out. I’m not happy with it, but …”