Obama’s tweet did not sit well with President Trump, who brags constantly about being responsible for the “greatest economy in the history of our country” and has touted economic growth as a main talking point in his bid for reelection.
Trump fired off back-to-back tweets Monday evening, writing, “Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration.”
Trump went on to attack Obama for having the “WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression,” adding, “NOW best jobs numbers ever.” The president concluded his missives with an all-caps declaration: “THE BEST IS YET TO COME. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
....ever. Had to rebuild our military, which was totally depleted. Fed Rate UP, taxes and regulations WAY DOWN. If Dems won in 2016, the USA would be in big economic (Depression?) & military trouble right now. THE BEST IS YET TO COME. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2020
Monday’s Twitter spat sparked an online frenzy among supporters of Trump and Obama over who should get credit for the current robust economy, which grew 2.3 percent in 2019, according to federal data released last month.
Conservatives, including prominent commentators and at least two Republican lawmakers, backed Trump and echoed his criticisms of Obama. An October 2019 Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 44 percent of Americans said the economy had improved under Trump. Within that group, about 4 in 5 said Trump deserves at least a good amount of the credit.
“President Trump reversed every single failed Obama-era economic policy, and with it, reversed the floundering Obama/Biden economy," Kayleigh McEnany, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary, said in a statement emailed to The Washington Post early Tuesday.
“Obama and [former vice president Joe Biden] orchestrated the worst economic recovery in modern history,” McEnany said, later adding: “It’s no wonder Democrats seek to take credit for the Trump economy after eight years of betraying blue collar workers and inflicting pain upon the middle class as Americans everywhere suffered. But the failed days of Democrat stagnation are over, and the soaring Trump economy is here to stay.”
Meanwhile, Democrats rallied behind Obama, praising the Recovery Act and launching the trending hashtag “#ObamaWasBetterAtEverything.”
“THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA!” tweeted Scott Dworkin, co-founder of the super PAC Democratic Coalition. “A REAL president.”
This isn’t the first time Trump and Obama have taken aim at each other in public over the economy. Trump has repeatedly attacked his predecessor on Twitter and crowed that the economy is now the “best,” “strongest” and “greatest” the United States has ever seen. On the other hand, Obama has argued that Trump inherited the strong economy created by his administration.
“When I walked into office 10 years ago, we were in the middle of the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes,” Obama said during a 2018 campaign rally for Nevada Democrats. “That was the last time that the other party was in charge of things.”
“By the time I left office, wages were rising, uninsurance rate was falling, poverty was falling and that’s what I handed off to the next guy,” Obama continued. “So when you hear all of his talk about economic miracles right now, remember who started it.”
Among those rising to Obama’s provocation Monday were Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and actor James Woods, a prominent pro-Trump tweeter.
Scalise highlighted a well-known quote by Obama from his 2012 presidential campaign, tweeting, “I believe the saying is: ‘You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.’ @realDonaldTrump made that happen.”
“The notion that you did anything but destroy this nation’s economy is beyond hilarious,” Woods tweeted, referencing Obama’s post.
But as conservatives and Trump went after Obama, a handful of journalists fact-checked the president’s tweets.
NBC News senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle tweeted that growth of the country’s gross domestic product hit 4 percent four times during the Obama administration and unemployment rates dropped 2.5 percent — accomplishments that have not been matched under Trump.
This is incorrect.— Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) February 18, 2020
economic expansion has continued under @realDonaldTrump - in large part bc of corporate tax cuts & keeping rates low
GDP has NOT reached 4% under DJT. It happened 4x under @BarackObama
Unemployment dropped more in the last administration too (2.5% vs 1.1%) https://t.co/EF3upypBQT
In fact, a number of Trump’s flattering assessments of the economy have not been supported by data, despite unemployment rates being at a 50-year low, steady economic growth and high consumer confidence, The Post’s Heather Long reported.
“The broad consensus among economists is that the U.S. economy is doing well, but these are not unprecedented times,” Long wrote, noting that “where Trump goes too far is in touting this economy as the ‘best ever’ and trying to portray the end of the Obama era as dire and himself as the hero flying in on the Trump jet to save the day.”